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M.A.,   LITT.D.,    LL-D.*^ 

Render  therefore  to  Caesar  the  things 
that  are  Caesar's  and  to  God  the  things 
that  are  God's.  Matthew  xxii,  21. 




Copyright,  1922, 

All  Rights  Reserved 

Printed  in  the  TTnlted  States  of  America 




XXXIII  The  Providential  Leader 585-594 

Silver  jubilee  of  Gibbons'  episcopacy  celebrated  in  1893  w^hen 
his  influence  was  nearing  its  height. — Letter  and  gift  from 
Leo  XIII. — Sermon  of  Archbishop  Ireland  in  the  Baltimore 
Cathedral  on  "The  Church  and  the  Age." — He  hails  Leo  as 
the  providential  Pope  and  Gibbons  as  the  providential  Arch- 
bishop, "a  Catholic  of  Catholics,  an  American  of  Americans." 
—Banquet  in  honor  of  Gibbons  attended  by  high  public  offi- 
cers.— He  expresses  satisfaction  with  the  relations  of  Church 
and  State  in  the  United  States. — Profoundly  moved  by  the 
death  of  Cardinal  Manning. — Their  close  relations  and 
sharing  of  views. 

XXXIV  War  with  Spain— Friar  Lands 59S-623 

Gibbons'  work  for  international  peace. — Letter  commending 
President  Cleveland  on  the  Venezuela  arbitration. — He  joins 
Cardinals  Logue  and  Vaughan  in  an  appeal  to  the  English 
speaking  peoples  in  behalf  of  arbitration. — Urges  calmness  in 
the  American  attitude  following  the  explosion  which  wrecked 
the  battleship  Maine  in  Havana  harbor. — Supports  the  Papal 
offer  of  mediation  between  Spain  and  the  United  States. — 
When  war  breaks  out  he  urges  that  "we  must  love  our 
country  next  to  God  and  be  ready  to  die  for  it  if  necessary." 
— Cooperation  with  the  Government  during  the  War. — 
McKinley  consults  him  on  the  retention  of  the  Philippines. — 
He  makes  possible  the  purchase  of  the  Friar  lands  in  the 
Philippines  on  the  American  terms  when  all  other  efforts 
fail. — Another  visit  to  Rome. 

XXXV  Influence  on  the  Election  of  Pius  X     .     .     .     .    624-651 

President  Cleveland  sends  through  Cardinal  Gibbons  a  gift 
to  Leo  XIII  in  honor  of  the  golden  jubilee  of  the  Pope's 
episcopate. — Leo's  silver  jubilee  as  Pope. — Death  of  Leo. — 
Gibbons  hastens  to  Rome  in  order  to  be  the  first  American 
to  take  part  in  electing  a  Pope. — Regulations  of  the  Conclave. 
— Austria  vetoes  the  election  of  Rampolla. — The  voting  turns 
to  Cardinal  Sarto,  but  he  declines  support.— ^-Cardinal  Gibbons 
induces  Satolli  to  carry  a  plea  to  Cardinal  Sarto  which 
induces  him  to  accept. — Sarto  takes  the  name  of  Pius  X. — 
Marks  of  his  gratitude  to  Gibbons. — Their  conferences  on 


the  Church  in  America. — The  new  Pope  promises  help  to  the 
Catholic  University. 

XXXVI  New  Ovations  at  Home 652-669 

Gibbons'  prestige  at  home  and  abroad  heightened  by  his  influ- 
ence on  the  decision  of  the  Papal  Conclave. — Great  public 
welcome  in  Baltimore  on  his  return. — In  a  sermon  on  the 
Conclave  he  tells  of  the  fairness  vi^hich  is  attained  in  the 
procedure  that  marks  the  election  of  a  Pope. — Pius  writes  to 
him  of  the  consolation  caused  by  the  progress  of  the  Church 
in  America. — Visit  to  Rome  in  1908. — The  Pope's  sympathy 
with  him  in  an  illness  in  Rome. — Preaches  in  Westminster 
Cathedral  at  the  London  Eucharistic  Congress  on  the  ties 
between  English  and  American  Catholics. — Welcomed  again 
on  his  return  to  Baltimore. 

XXXVII  Checking  the  Tide  of  Socialism 670-(&2 

Apprehensions  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  stirred  by  the  sudden 
increase  in  the  Socialist  vote  in  America  in  1904. — Condemna- 
tion of  Socialism  by  Popes. — Gibbons  delivers  a  sermon 
against  it,  a  short  time  before  the  celebration  of  the  centenary 
of  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  and  his  own  silver  jubilee  as 
Archbishop. — The  celebration  takes  the  form  of  a  massing  of 
the  Church's  influence  in  America  against  Socialism. — Deliv- 
erances by  Archbishops  Glennon  and  Ryan. — Forces  arrayed 
against  the  growth  of  Socialism  among  foreigners  within  the 
Catholic  fold. 

XXXVIII  Sympathy  with  French  Catholics     ....  684-687 

Gibbons  deplores  excesses  committed  in  France  during  the 
agitation  over  the  passage  and  application  of  the  Law  of 
Associations. — Ties  between  French  and  American  Catholics 
dating  from  Colonial  times. — American  bishops  request 
Gibbons  to  address  a  letter  to  the  Catholics  of  France  ex- 
pressing sympathy  and  hopes  for  better  conditions ;  he  con- 
trasts in  the  letter  the  liberty  and  protection  of  religion  in 
America  with  the  situation  in  France. — Reply  of  Cardinal 
Richard. — Cardinal  Gibbons,  in  a  public  statement  later,  cites 
anti-Christian  propaganda  by  extremist  supporters  of  the 
French  legislation. 

XXXIX  Civic  Honors  at  Jubilee 688-710 

Unprecedented  civic  demonstration  in  honor  of  Gibbons  at  the 
celebration  of  his  silver  jubilee  as  Cardinal  and  his  golden 
jubilee  as  priest. — Twenty  thousand  persons  acclaim  him  in 
the  largest  hall  in  Baltimore. — Addresses  paying  tribute  to  his 
services  to  the  nation,  the  State  and  the  city  and  to  world  wel- 
fare made  by  President  Taft,  ex-President  Roosevelt,  Vice- 
President  Sherman,  Senator  Root,  Speaker  Clark,  of  the 
House  of   Representatives,  British  Ambassador  Bryce,  the 



Governor  of  Maryland,  the  Mayor  of  Baltimore  and  others.— 
The  Cardinal,  in  responding,  testifies  anew  to  his  faith  in  his 
country,  and  to  the  essentially  religious  nature  of  its  people," 
exhorting  also  the  duty  of  loyalty  to  its  constituted  authori- 
ties.— Public  comments  on  the  demonstration. 

XL    The  Hierarchy's  Plaudits 7i  1-739 

Great  religious  celebration  held  to  mark  the  Gibbons  jubilee. 
—The  Cardinal  expresses  agreement  with  non-Catholic  oppo- 
sition to  decreeing  a  municipal  holiday  in  honor  of  the 
church  celebration  and  expresses  thanks  for  the  holiday  that 
had  been  decreed  in  honor  of  the  civic  celebration  of  his 
jubilee. — In  a  sermon  a  week  before  the  religious  observance, 
he  opposes  the  then  proposed  constitutional  amendments  for 
the  election  of  United  States  Senators  by  popular  vote  and 
the  initiative,  referendum  and  recall  of  public  officers. — Lays 
the  cornerstone  of  Gibbons  Hall  at  the  Catholic  University — 
Large  gathering  of  prelates  at  the  main  celebration  in  the 
Baltimore  Cathedral. — Tributes  to  the  Cardinal  by  Arch- 
bishops Glennon  and  Blenk. 

XLI    Some  Events  of  Later  Years 740-760 

Sermon  of  Gibbons  as  the  great  Baltimore  fire  of  1904  began 
indicated  a  vein  of  the  prophetic. — Other  instances  of  the 
same  quality. — Determined  efforts  to  retrieve  the  Catholic 
University's  loss  in  the  Waggaman  failure. — Silver  anniver- 
sary of  the  University. — Exhortations  to  civic  duty. — Over- 
come by  the  financial  indiscretions  of  a  priest,  whose  debts 
he  pledges  himself  to  pay. — Debate  in  published  articles  with 
Thomas  A.  Edison  on  Immortality. — Shock  at  the  death  of 
Archbishop  Ryan. — His  last  meeting  with  Pius  X. — Guest  of 
King  Albert  in  Brussels. — Golden  Jubilee  o.f  his  episcopate. — 
Letter  from  Benedict  XV  and  visits  from  delegations  of 
English,  French  and  Belgian  Catholics. 

XLII    Manifold   Public   Relations 761-778 

Gibbons'  estimate  of  individual  civic  responsibility  in  Ameri- 
can life. — His  citizenship  accepted  as  a  national  model. — His 
opinions  expressed  regardless  of  the  popular  trend. — Inde- 
pendent in  politics. — Offers  prayer  at  national  nominating  con- 
ventions of  both  the  leading  political  parties. — Influence  in 
preventing  American  abandonment  of  the  Philippines  in  1913. 
— Deplores  revolutionary  excesses  in  Mexico. — Aids  refugee 
priests  and  nuns  from  that  country. — Address  at  Third  Na- 
tional Peace  Congress. — Help  in  overthrowing  the  Louisiana 
lottery. — Commendation  by  Lyman  Abbott. 

XLIII    Prohibitign  and  Woman  Suffrage 779-788 

Services  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  to  the  cause  of  temperance  in 
the  use  of  liquor. — He  opposes  national  prohibition  as  unen- 



forceable  but  favors  local  option. — Warns  against  the  enact- 
ment of  a  State  prohibition  bill  in  Maryland. — Courage  of  his 
public  utterances  on  the  question. — He  opposes  general  suf- 
frage for  women  but  favors  municipal  suffrage  for  women 
who  own  property. — Fears  of  the  impairment  of  woman's  in- 
fluence in  the  home  by  political  activity. — Exalts  motherhood. 
— Letter  to  the  Congress  of  Mothers. — He  combats  the 
divorce  evil  and  "race  suicide." 

XLIV    Wide  Scope  as  Citizen 789-803 

Institution  of  the  annual  Pan-American  Thanksgiving  Mass 
in  Washington. — Wilson  the  last  of  many  Presidents  with 
whom  Gibbons  came  in  contact  at  the  White  House. — Their 
first  meeting  and  subsequent  cooperation  in  the  World  War. 
— Article  in  the  North  American  Review  on  the  harmony  of 
the  Catholic  faith  with  American  institutions. — Offers  prayer 
at  the  dedication  of  the  Louisiana  Purchase  Exposition. — 
Gratitude  of  negroes  for  his  help. — Denunciation  of  lynching. 
— Opposition  to  educational  requirement  for  immigrants. — 
Letter  on  the  persecution  of  Jews  in  parts  of  Europe. — 
Vigorous  criticisms  of  national  faults. — Denunciation  of 
ballot  frauds. 

XLV    Stress  of  the  World  War 804-829 

Invasion  of  Belgium  by  the  German  armies  begins  soon  after 
Gibbons'  eightieth  birthday. — Expresses  the  hope  that 
America  may  avoid  being  involved  in  the  war. — Death  of 
Pius  X,  August  20,  1914. — Gibbons  arrives  in  Rome  too  late 
to  vote  in  the  ensuing  Conclave. — Consultations  with  Bene- 
dict XV. — Horror  at  the  sinking  of  the  Lusitania. — Gibbons 
the  medium  of  communications  between  Benedict  XV  and 
President  Wilson  on  steps  for  bringing  world  peace. — When 
America  enters  the  war,  the  Archbishops,  on  his  proposal, 
pledge  their  active  cooperation  in  the  national  effort. — 
National  Catholic  War  Council  organizes  under  his  presi- 
dency to  coordinate  Catholic  war  activities. — Help  to  Liberty 
Loans. — Defends  Benedict  XV's  course  in  the  war. — Inde- 
fatigable services  to  the  country  in  many  ways  during  the 

XLVI    After  the  Armistice 830^42 

Gibbons  declares  that  Catholic  pledges  of  support  to  the 
Government  in  the  war  have  been  fulfilled. — lletter  urging 
President  Wilson  to  visit  the  Pope. — The  President's  confer- 
ence with  Benedict  XV. — Gibbons'  interest  in  the  problems 
of  reconstruction. — Warning  against  activities  by  foreign 
radicals  in  the  United  States. — Cardinal  Mercier  his  guest  in 
Baltimore. — Help  to  Belgian  relief  movements. — Pastoral 
letter  by  the  hierarchy  on  reconstruction. — Sermon  of  Gibbons 



on  America  as  the  Good  Samaritan  of  Europe. — Declares  his 
support  of  the  League  of  Nations. — Expresses  confidence  in 
the  stability  of  America  under  the  new  conditions. 

XLVII    Characteristics  as  a  Preacher 843-872 

Novel  character  of  the  congregations  at  the  Baltimore  Cathe- 
dral when  Cardinal  Gibbons  preached. — Large  proportion  of 
non-Catholics  present. — Overflowing  crowds. — His  appearance 
in  the  pulpit. — Methods  of  delivering  sermons. — Simplicity 
of  utterance  designed  to  appeal  to  the  greatest  number. — Re- 
markable memory  which  enabled  him  to  deliver  prepared  ser- 
mons without  reference  to  manuscript. — Impressions  pro- 
duced on  the  hearer. — The  training  of  his  voice  enforced  by 
ill  health  in  early  life. — Selection  of  topics  of  general  appeal 
for  sermons. — Religious  themes  sometimes  accompanied  by 
their  direct  application  to  pending  public  questions. — Extracts 
from  some  of  his  sermons  which  illustrated  his  ideals  as  a 

XLVIII    Literary  Tastes  and  Labors 873-903 

Part  of  every  night  spent  by  Gibbons  at  home  devoted  to 
reading  in  his  study  when  possible. — An  English  purist  in 
style  and  preference. — Wide  range  of  reading. — Diverted  at 
times  by  novels. — Fondness  for  poetry. — Extensive  scanning 
of  newspapers  and  magazines. — His  views  on  simplicity  of 
literary  style. — "The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers"  developed  from 
his  experiences  in  North  Carolina. — Its  circulation  probably 
greater  than  that  of  any  other  religious  book  after  the  Bible. 
— His  surprise  at  its  popularity. — "Our  Christian  Heritage" 
professedly  non-sectarian. — Its  purpose  to  defend  fundamen- 
tal truths. — References  in  the  book  to  current  political  and 
social  questions. — "The  Ambassador  of  Christ"  the  fruit  of 
his  zeal  for  training  priests. — "Discourses  and  Sermons." — 
"A  Retrospect  of  Fifty  Years." 

XLIX    Personality  and  Private  Life 904-935 

Versatility  of  Cardinal  Gibbons. — His  remarkable  vitality 
despite  a  tendency  to  some  forms  of  physical  weakness. — 
Simple  life  at  the  archiepiscopal  residence. — Daily  routine. — 
Personality  shown  in  his  correspondence. — Extensive  benevo- 
lences kept  secret  even  from  his  intimates. — Sometimes  em- 
barrassed for  lack  of  money  despite  large  revenue  from  his 
books. — Refusal  of  personal  gifts. — Incidents  of  his  public 
audiences. — Extraordinarily  large  acquaintance. — Sparing  in 
diet. — Three  and  a  half  to  four  hours  daily  spent  in  religious 
devotions. — Impressions  of  him  as  recorded  by  L'Abbe  Klein. 
— New  Year  receptions. — Found  "more  of  pain  than  pleasure" 
in  public  plaudits. — Subject  of  many  articles  in  the  press. 



L    Social  Habits — Friendships 936-946 

Cardinal  Gibbons'  remarkable  social  graces. — "I  dine  out  be- 
cause Christ  dined  out." — Center  of  attention  at  social  gather- 
ings.— His  habit  of  leaving  early  in  the  evening. — Beloved  by 
young  people. — Abstemious  at  all  times. — Friendships  with 
Monsignor  McManus,  Michael  Jenkins  and  Joseph  Frieden- 
wald. — His  grief  at  the  death  of  Jenkins. — Happiness  in 
ecclesiastical  life  placed  above  success  that  might  have  come 
to  him  in  material  affairs. — Formidable  when  aroused  by 
danger  to  his  greater  purposes. 

LI    Relations  with  Protestants 947-955 

Resolute  avoidance  of  all  acts  and  utterances  that  might  imply 
intolerance. — Protestant  ministers  and  laymen  among  his 
warmest  personal  friends. — Precedence  accorded  to  him  in 
gatherings  attended  by  Protestant  churchmen,  although  he 
never  sought  it. — His  rule  on  such  occasions. — Views  on 
accepting  an  invitation  to  a  civic  meeting  in  a  Methodist 
church. — Criticism  of  his  attitude  in  the  Congo  controversy 
resented  by  Protestant  ministers. — Public  tributes  to  him  by 
non-Catholics. — Acts  of  kindness  and  help  to  persons  of 
other  creeds. — His  purpose  to  bestow  the  greatest  service 
where  the  need  was  greatest. 

LII    Health  and  Recreations 956-965 

Cardinal  Gibbons  "always  at  the  work  bench  and  too  busy  to 
be  sick." — Work  at  high  pressure  in  periods  of  impaired 
health. — Digestion  his  physical  barometer. — Avoided  medi- 
cine except  as  a  last  resort. — Organically  sound  and  possessed 
of  marvellous  recuperative  power. — Benefited  by  regular 
exercise  in  the  open  air. — Conversations  on  his  health. — 
Strong  eyesight  even  in  age. — Periods  of  recuperation  at  the 
Shriver  homes. — Visits  to  Spring  Lake,  N.  J.,  and  South- 
ampton, L.  I. — Summary  of  his  labors  in  his  78th  year. — 
His  opposition  to  the  appointment  of  a  coadjutor. — His  life 
imperiled  by  a  driving  accident. 

LIII    Anecdotes  and  Incidents 966-982 

The  exceptionally  large  number  of  the  anecdotes  told  of 
Cardinal  Gibbons  due  chiefly  to  the  strength  and  versatility 
of  his  personality. — His  playfulness  with  children. — Moods 
with  altar  boys. — Incidents  of  his  interest  in  waifs. — Forgives 
offenders  at  St.  Mary's  Industrial  School. — Acts  as  Santa 
Claus  at  an  orphan  asylum. — Hears  the  confessions  of  an  im- 
portunate husband  and  wife. — Awe  inspired  in  a  Maryland 
family  by  his  presence  as  a  guest. — Rejoinder  to  Senator 
Bayard  on  pulpit  and  political  oratory. — Fondness  for  the 
hymn  "Lead,  Kindly  Light." — Other  anecdotes. 



LIV    Elements  of  Greatness 983-1007 

Cardinal  Gibbons  often  called  great  during  his  life  time. — 
Elements  of  sublimity  in  his  character. — Blended  strength 
and  simplicity. — Steadfastness  and  courage  in  the  face  of 
great  obstacles. — Leo  XIII,  Gibbons  and  Manning  the  domi- 
nant figures  in  the  Church  during  a  critical  period  in  world 
evolution. — Their  liberal  tendencies. — Gibbons'  work  in  allay- 
ing intolerance  concerning  religion. — National  gain  through 
his  victory  for  Americanism  in  the  Church. — His  help  to  the 
cause  of  labor  a  potent  influence  throughout  the  world. — 
Conspicuous  services  as  a  reformer  and  in  many  other  direc- 
tions.— Manifestations  of  his  powerful  personality. 

LV    Gifts  as  a  Leader 100S-1023 

Cardinal  Gibbons  as  a  churchman. — The  lawgiver  of  the 
Catholic  Church  in  America  through  his  wort  in  the  guidance 
of  the  Third  Plenary  Council  of  Baltimore. — Permanent  and 
fruitful  character  of  the  Council's  decrees. — Qualities  of 
statesmanship  exercised  by  him  within  and  without  the 
Church. — Unique  position  as  the  mentor  of  his  fellow 
countrymen. — His  popularity  as  an  author. — Faculties  of 
intuitive  perception. — Intellectual  processes. — Remarkable  ef- 
fects produced  upon  crowds  and  individuals  by  the  dominant 
force  of  his  character. 

LVI    Last  Illness  and  Death 1024-1046 

Many  warnings  to  lessen  his  labors  in  advanced  age  are 
ignored. — Remarkable  vitality  after  passing  the  age  of  80 
years. — Monthly  sermons  not  discontinued  until  pronounced 
signs  of  growing  weakness  appeared. — Reflections  on  his  last 
birthday. — Collapse  in  church  at  Havre  de  Grace,  Md., 
November  7,  1920. — Trip  to  Emmitsburg,  Md.,  accompanied 
by  further  alarming  symptoms. — Prostrated  in  bed  at  the 
Shriver  home.— His  last  Christmas.— Sympathy  from  the 
Pope,  President  Wilson  and  others. — Carried  back  to  the 
archiepiscopal  house. — Gradual  failure  of  vital  powers. — 
Resignation  in  suffering.— Final  messages.— Death  on  March 
24,  1921.  , 

LVII    The  Nation's  Homage     . 1047-1057 

Tributes  to  Cardinal  Gibbons  in  America  and  abroad  at  his 
death.— Expressions  by  the  Pope,  President  Harding,  ex- 
President  Taft,  Cardinal  O'Connell  and  others.— Public 
honors  in  Maryland  and  Baltimore.— Praise  from  Protestant 
and  Jewish  ministers.— Catholic  prelates  mourn  his  joss  as 
that  of  a  great  leader. — Editorials  in  newspapers  estimating 
his  services  to  religion,  America  and  the  world. 



LVIII    Funeral  of  Cardinal  Gibbons 1058-1068 

Throngs  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  while  the  body  lay  in 
state. — Services  held  there  during  the  week  following  his 
death. — The  funeral. — National,  state,  municipal  and  foreign 
representatives  present. — Great  gathering  of  the  Hierarchy. — 
Archbishop  Glennon's  sermon  tracing  Gibbons'  power  to  quali- 
ties in  his  inner  self. — His  body  placed  in  the  crypt  beneath 
the  Cathedral  with  those  of  other  Archbishops. — A  considera- 
tion of  the  place  which  Cardinal  Gibbons  filled  in  the  Church 
and  the  world. 

Bibliography 1069 

General  Index     .................  1075 




The  Archiepiscopal  Residence,  Baltimore 591 

Cardinal  Gibbons  lived  in  this  house  as  Archbishop  Spalding's 
secretary,  1865-68,  and  as  Archbishop,  1877-1921. 

Cardinal  Gibbons'  Study 713 

The  portrait  above  the  desk  is  that  of  St.  Philip  Neri. 

Cardinal  Gibbons  Offering  Prayer  at  the  Presentation  of  a 
SwoRD  to  Admiral  Dewey  in  Washington,  October  3RD,  1899  .     791 
President    McKinley   and   the   Admiral   are   the   other   two 
figures  shown. 

Facsimile  of  Cardinal  Gibbons'  Handwriting 888 

Extract  from  "Our  Christian  Heritage." 

Cardinal  Gibbons  Ready  for  a  Walk 960 

He  is  shown  seated  with  Bishop  O'Connell,  of  Richmond, 
on  the  porch  of  the  residence  of  B.  Frank  Shriver  at  Union 
Mills,  Md.    The  photograph  was  taken  in  1918. 

Cardinal  Gibbons  on  His  85TH  Birthday 834 

Photograph  taken  in  the  garden  of  the  residence  of  T.  Her- 
bert Shriver,  Union  Mills,  Md. 

Cardinal  Gibbons  in  the  Last  of  Many  National  Ecclesi- 
astical Ceremonies  over  Which  He  Presided 1028 

This  photograph  was  taken  at  the  laying  of  the  cornerstone 
of  the  National  Shrine  of  the  Immaculate  Conception  on  the 
grounds  of  the  Catholic  University  of  America,  Sept.  23, 
1920.     (Copyright,  Harris  and  Ewing.) 

Cardinal  Gibbons  as  He  Was  Last  Remembered 103 1 

From  the  portrait  by  Marie  de  Ford  Keller,  presented  by 
the  Cardinal  to  Miss  Mary  O.  Shriver,  Dec.  16th,  1920. 




Gibbons'  prestige  was  nearing  the  pinnacle  abroad  as 
well  as  at  home  when  the  silver  jubilee  of  his  own  epis- 
copacy was  celebrated  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  Oc- 
tober 18,  1893.  The  actual  anniversary  was  August  16; 
but  the  celebration  had  been  deferred  in  compliance  with 
the  wishes  of  a  number  of  prelates  living  at  a  distance 
who  desired  to  be  present. 

In  no  diocese  of  the  world,  perhaps,  were  the  clergy 
more  warmly,  in  a  personal  sense,  devoted  to  their  ecclesi- 
astical superior  than  in  Baltimore.  A  committee  of 
priests  took  the  arrangements  in  charge  in  June,  and  is- 
sued a  circular  letter  announcing  that  a  testimonial  of 
their  devotion  would  be  presented  to  the  Cardinal.  In 
this  circular  they  said : 

"By  his  wise  and  progressive  principles  he  has  raised 
the  Church  before  the  American  public  to  a  position  of 
which  we  may  be  justly  proud.  In  the  administration 
of  the  archdiocese  he  has  displayed  all  the  characteristics 
of  the  Good  Shepherd ;  and  he  has  ever  been  united  to  the 
clergy  and  his  people  by  the  closest  bonds  of  devotion  and 
love.  To  his  priests  he  has  been,  indeed,  the  amiable  and 
sympathetic  elder  brother,  always  ready  to  receive,  to 
counsel,  and  to  assist  them  in  the  great  responsibilities  of 
their  vocation." 



Gibbons  himself  celebrated  Mass  on  the  day  of  the 
celebration,  and  Archbishop  Corrigan  preached  in  the 
presence  of  Archbishop  Satolli  and  a  large  gathering  of 
the  Hierarchy.  At  the  end  of  the  sermon  a  letter  from 
the  Pope  conveying  his  affectionate  congratulations  was 
read.  In  the  same  year  Leo  had  enjoyed  the  extraordi- 
nary distinction  of  celebrating  the  golden  jubilee  of  his 
own  episcopate,  and  he  expressed  his  fervent  hope  that 
the  same  privilege  might  be  granted  to  Gibbons.^  Ac- 
companying the  letter  Leo  sent  as  a  gift  a  massive 
jeweled  design  bearing  a  profile  miniature  of  the  great 
bronze  statue  of  St.  Peter  in  Rome,  representing  him  as 
seated  upon  a  throne  blessing  the  whole  world.  This 
gift  was  brought  from  Rome  by  the  Rev.  Frederick  Z. 
Rooker,  Vice-rector  of  the  American  College. 

The  personal  note  predominated  in  the  afternoon  of 
the  same  day  at  a  dinner  at  St.  Mary's  Seminary,  at  which 
the  priests  of  the  archdiocese  presented  an  address  to  Gih-i 
bons.  The  venerable  Mgr.  McColgan,  the  Vicar  Gen- 
eral, took  the  occasion  to  recall  that  a  Protestant  who 
had  watched  the  future  Cardinal  as  a  young  pastor  going 
from  house  to  house,  visiting  the  poor  and  ministering  to 
the  sick,  had  predicted  that  he  would  some  day  become  a 
great  man. 

Gibbons  replied  in  terms  of  affection,  attributing  the 
great  growth  of  the  Church  in  the  diocese  to  the  work 
of  the  clergy,  among  whom  in  all  the  years  of  his  epis- 
copate he  had  not  known  a  single  case  of  insubordination. 
Addresses  were  made  by  Mgr.  Nugent,  of  Liverpool,  who 

*  Letter  of  Leo  XIII  to  Cardinal  Gibbons,  August  30,  1893;  Cathedral 
Archives,  Baltimore. 


had  been  sent  to  convey  the  congratulations  of  Cardinal 
Vaughan,  and  by  Father  Ring,  who  came  as  a  representa- 
tive of  Cardinal  Logue. 

The  celebration  drew  from  Archbishop  Ireland,  at  a 
vesper  service  in  the  Cathedral  on  that  day,  one  of  the 
most  stirring  sermons  which  ever  came  from  the  lips  of 
that  warrior  prelate;  he  entitled  it  "The  Church  and  the 
Age."  He  hailed  Leo  as  the  "Providential  Pope"  and 
Gibbons  as  the  "Providential  Archbishop."  No  one  knew 
better  than  he  what  the  leadership  of  Gibbons  had  meant 
to  the  Church  in  America.  No  one  shared  more  fervently 
than  he  the  primary  aims  that  had  inspired  Gibbons  to 
his  greatest  efforts.    He  said : 

"Be  it  my  coveted  privilege  to  honor  a  man  among 
men.  The  record  of  the  Cardinal  Archbishop  of  Balti- 
more! I  speak  of  it  with  pride  and  exultation;  it  is  the 
record  I  should  have  traced  for  my  ideal  Bishop  and 
leader  of  men  in  these  solemn  times  through  which  the 
Church  is  passing." 

The  Archbishop  proceeded : 

"There  is  discord  between  the  age  and  the  Church.  We 
recall  the  fact  with  sorrow.  The  interests  of  society  and 
religion  suffer  where  misunderstanding  and  separation 
exist.  The  fault  lies  with  the  age  and  with  the  Church, 
or  rather,  with  statesmen  of  the  age  and  statesmen  of  the 
Church.  Age  and  Church,  rightly  apprehended,  are  in 
no  manner  at  war.  .  .  . 

"I  indicate  the  opportunity  for  the  great  and  singular 
churchman;  his  work  is  to  bridge  the  deep  valley  sepa- 
rating the  age  from  the  Church.  .  .  .  What  the  Church 
at  any  time  was,  certain  people  hold  she  ever  must  be; 
they  do  her  much  harm,  making  her  rigid  and  unbending. 


incapable  of  adapting  herself  to  new  and  changing  sur- 
roundings. The  Church,  created  by  Christ  for  all  ages, 
lives  in  every  age  and  puts  on  the  dress  of  every  one." 

The  Archbishop  turned  to  note  the  characteristics  of 
the  age.  It  was  ambitious  for  knowledge.  It  was  an  age 
of  liberty,  civil  and  political,  and  of  democracy.  It  was 
an  era  of  social  cravings  for  justice  to  all  men.  He  found 
in  this  the  best  opportunity  for  Catholic  sympathy  and 
effort.    He  continued: 

"How  oft  in  past  years  have  I  thanked  God  that  in 
this  latter  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century  Cardinal 
Gibbons  has  been  given  to  us  as  a  primate,  a  leader,  a 
Catholic  of  Catholics,  an  American  of  Americans,  a 
Bishop  of  his  age  and  of  his  country;  he  is  to  America 
what  Leo  is  to  all  Christendom.  Aye,  far  beyond  Amer- 
ica does  his  influence  go.  Men  are  not  confined  by 
frontier  lines,  and  Gibbons  is  European  as  Manning  was 

"A  particular  mission  is  reserved  to  the  American  Car- 
dinal. The  Church  and  the  age  fight  their  battles  with 
especial  intensity  in  America.  America  is  watched.  The 
prelate  who  in  America  is  the  representative  of  the  union 
of  Church  and  age  is  watched.  His  leadership  guides 
the  combatants  the  world  over.  The  name  of  Cardinal 
Gibbons  lights  up  the  pages  of  nearly  every  European 
book  which  treats  of  modem  social  and  political  ques- 
tions. The  ripplings  of  his  influence  cross  the  threshold 
of  the  Vatican. 

'The  work  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  forms  an  epoch  in  the 
history  of  the  Church  in  America.  He  has  made  known, 
as  no  one  before  him  did,  the  Church  to  the  people  of 
America.  He  has  demonstrated  the  fitness  of  the  Church 
for  America,  the  natural  alliance  existing  between  the 
Church  and  the  freedom-giving  democratic  institutions 


of  this  country.  Through  his  action  the  scales  have  fallen 
from  the  eyes  of  non-Catholics — prejudices  have  van- 
ished. He,  the  great  churchman,  is  the  great  citizen; 
Church  and  country  unite  in  him,  and  the  magnetism  of 
the  union  pervades  the  whole  land,  teaching  laggard 
Catholics  to  love  America,  teaching  well  disposed  non- 
Catholics  to  trust  the  Church. 

"How  noble  the  mission  which  Heaven  has  assigned 
to  him ;  how  well  it  has  been  followed  out !  .  .  .  He  is 
large-minded.  His  vision  can  not  be  narrowed  to  a  one- 
sided consideration  of  men  or  things.  He  is  large- 
hearted.  His  sympathies  are  limited  by  the  frontiers  of 
humanity;  careless  of  self,  he  gives  his  best  activities  to 
the  good  of  others.  He  is  ready  for  every  noble  work 
• — patriotic,  intellectual,  social,  philanthropic,  as  well  as 
religious;  and  in  the  prosecution  of  these  he  joins  hands 
with  the  laborer  and  the  capitalist,  with  the  white  man 
and  the  black  man,  with  the  Catholic,  the  Protestant  and 
the  Jew.  He  is  brave.  He  has  the  courage  to  speak  and 
to  act  in  accordance  with  his  convictions.  .  .  .  Cardinal 
Gibbons,  the  most  outspoken  of  Catholics,  the  most  loyal 
co-laborer  of  the  Pope  of  Rome,  is  the  American  of 
Americans !" 

Archbishop  Redwood,  who  had  traveled  half  of  the 
earth's  circumference  from  his  home  in  New  Zealand, 
was  the  celebrant  at  the  vesper  service. 

The  range  of  Gibbons  had  been  so  far  outside  his 
ecclesiastical  duties  in  serving  his  fellow-men  that  it  was 
felt  that  the  celebration  would  be  incomplete  without  a 
recognition  of  the  civic  status  which  he  had  attained  in 
both  the  nation  and  the  State.  On  the  day  following  the 
services  at  the  Cathedral,  a  banquet  was  held  in  his  honor 
at  the  Catholic  Club  of  Baltimore,  which  was  attended 
by  Vice-President  Stevenson,  Senator  Gorman,  of  Mary- 


land,  Mayor  Latrobe,  of  Baltimore,  and  other  men  of 
prominence  in  public  life.  A  letter  from  President  Cleve- 
land conveying  his  felicitations  was  read,  and  a  number 
of  addresses  from  organizations  in  the  diocese  were 

Gibbons,  when  called  upon  to  address  the  gathering, 
said  that  he  was  thankful  for  two  things — that  he  had 
Christ  for  his  instructor  and  guide,  and  that  he  had  the 
privilege  of  being  bom  in  and  raised  as  a  citizen  of  the 
United  States,  a  citizen  of  Maryland,  of  Baltimore.  In 
no  country  on  earth  had  a  difficult  problem  been  better 
solved  than  in  America — that  of  maintaining  harmonious 
relations  between  Church  and  State.  Here  the  Church 
and  State  ran  in  parallel  lines  and  neither  conflicted  with 
the  other.  The  Church  upheld  the  State;  religion  edu- 
cated the  State  and  proclaimed  the  sanctity  of  the  laws. 
Religion  taught  the  virtue  of  obedience  and  respect  for 
civil  laws  by  teaching  that  obedience  to  civil  authorities 
was  not  servile  homage  but  the  homage  of  freemen  to 
God  Himself.    The  Cardinal  proceeded: 

"For  my  part,  I  would  be  sorry  to  see  the  relations  of 
Church  and  State  any  closer  than  they  are  at  present ;  for, 
if  the  civil  authority  built  our  churches  or  subsidized  our 
clergy,  they  might  want  to  have  something  to  say  as  to 
the  doctrines  we  teach,  and  we  believe  that  the  Gospel 
should  be  free.  I  thank  God  that  we  have  religious  lib- 

"Foreign  governments,  while  recognizing  the  liberties 
we  enjoy,  do  not  recognize  our  strength.  The  first  thing 
that  strikes  a  foreigner  on  reaching  our  shores  is  the  ab- 
sence of  soldiers  such  as  he  is  accustomed  to  see  abroad; 
but  we  are  strong  in  the  intelligence  of  the  people;  we 


are  strong  in  the  patriotism  that  in  a  few  hours  would 
transform  every  citizen  into  a  brave  and  valiant  soldier. 
"Another  mistake  is  made  in  supposing  that,  because 
there  is  no  union  here  between  Church  and  State,  we  are 
not  a  religious  people.  I  maintain  that  no  country  in  the 
world  has  a  stronger  religious  basis  than  the  United 
States.  Our  common  law  is  taken  from  the  common  law 
of  England,  which  is  thoroughly  permeated  with  the 
spirit  of  Christianity.  Where  is  the  Christian  Sabbath 
better  observed  than  here*?  The  proceedings  of  the  Na- 
tional and  State  legislatures  are  opened  with  prayer;  and 
still  another  evidence  of  our  respect  and  regard  for  re- 
ligion is  the  fact  of  our  setting  apart  a  day  in  each  year 
for  special  thanksgiving,  the  President  of  the  United 
States  and  the  Governors  of  States  calling  upon  the  peo- 
ple, by  proclamation,  to  return  thanks  for  the  blessings 
they  have  enjoyed." 

Gibbons  closed  by  expressing  the  fervent  hope  that  re- 
ligion and  patriotism  might  ever  characterize  the  Ameri- 
can people." 

For  weeks  delegations  from  the  diocese  continued  to 
present  gifts  and  addresses  to  Gibbons  at  his  residence. 
In  November  a  series  of  public  celebrations  in  honor  of 
the  jubilee  was  held  in  Washington,  where  next  to  his 
own  Baltimore  he  was  better  known  personally  to  large 
numbers  of  people  than  in  any  other  city. 

The  death  of  Cardinal  Manning  January  12,  1892,  re- 
moved one  of  three  men  who  more  than  any  others  had 
been  influential  in  guiding  the  external  policies  of  the 
Church  in  the  direction  of  liberalism  in  the  last  part  of 
the  nineteenth  century;  the  others  were  Leo  XIII  and 
Gibbons.     Manning's    death    profoundly    affected    the 

'Catholic  Mirror,  October  21,  1893. 


Baltimore  Cardinal,  who  had  found  in  him,  next  to  Leo, 
his  principal  support  in  striving  for  the  goals  which  they 
all  wished  to  reach.  Manning  was  a  warm  admirer  of 
Gibbons  and  the  American  Cardinal  neglected  no  oppor- 
tunity to  express  his  high  esteem  for  his  English  col- 
league. He  believed  that,  had  Manning  remained  in  the 
Church  of  England,  he  would  have  been  elevated  to  the 
See  of  Canterbury;  or,  had  his  activities  been  exercised  in 
secular  fields,  he  might  have  been  a  Chancellor  of  the  Ex- 
chequer as  distinguished  as  Gladstone,  a  philanthropist 
as  great  as  Wilberforce,  or  a  temperance  apostle  as  suc- 
cessful as  Father  Mathew. 

Both  of  these  Cardinals  were  in  thorough  sympathy 
with  the  wants  and  legitimate  aspirations  of  men,  espe- 
cially those  upon  whom  conditions  of  poverty  and  social 
injustice  weighed.  They  went  outside  the  arena  of  the- 
ology to  grapple  with  social  questions,  believing  that  re- 
ligion impelled  them  to  open  the  hearts  of  men  to  its 
benign  influences  by  displaying  the  Church  as  the  cham- 
pion of  justice  to  all. 

It  was  fortunate  that  the  influence  of  Gibbons  and 
Manning  was  exercised  in  English  speaking  countries, 
which  are  naturally  ready  to  respond  to  liberal  ideas. 
Sustained  as  they  were  by  Leo,  reenforced  by  his  brilliant 
Secretary  of  State,  Rampolla,  the  fruits  of  their  work, 
in  some  important  particulars,  extended  over  the  whole 
civilized  world. 

There  were  traits  which  these  men  seemed  to  share 
almost  equally.  All  of  them  possessed  a  boldness  of 
mental  conception  which  scarcely  fell  short  of  prophecy. 
They  seemed  at  times  to  live  in  years  to  come  more  than 


in  the  present,  and  their  thoughts  were  sometimes  incom- 
prehensible to  men  whose  views  and  outlook  were  cir- 
cumscribed by  conditions  immediately  surrounding  them. 

In  the  case  of  Gibbons  it  was  noticeable  that  not  a  few 
of  his  judgments  which  appeared  to  be  defective,  even  to 
the  point  of  exciting  grave  warnings  on  the  part  of  others, 
were  sustained  by  subsequent  developments  which  those 
who  warned  him  had  not  foreseen.  Persons  who  were  in 
intimate  touch  with  him  and  accustomed  to  be  consulted 
about  his  decisions,  or  to  share  in  their  execution,  finally 
came  to  repose  in  him  a  confidence  in  which  they  were 
disposed  to  silence  totally  their  own  judgment.  They 
accepted  his  leadership  as  so  far  above  their  own  stand- 
ards that  they  did  not  question  it.  In  his  long  life  it  was 
possible  to  get  a  sweeping  perspective  of  what  he  sought 
to  do  and  what  he  accomplished.  He  lived  to  see  the 
fruition  of  every  one  of  his  great  aims ;  and  some  advisers 
who  had  been  disposed  to  urge  him  to  beware,  especially 
when  his  boldness  seemed  to  discard  prudence,  were  con- 
founded in  judgment. 

Leo  and  Manning  had  complete  confidence  in  Gibbons 
based  on  the  natural  parallel  that  always  seemed  to  exist 
between  their  ideas.  All  of  them  were  deep  students  of 
theology  and  philosophy,  the  fruits  of  which  were  espe- 
cially evident  in  the  great  encyclicals  of  Leo,  which  re- 
mained as  an  invaluable  guide  for  the  Church  after  his 
time ;  but  their  creed  was  action  and  service,  rather  than 
philosophy  or  logic.  They  felt  that  men  must  be  helped 
by  acts  rather  than  thoughts.  It  was  not  as  useful  in 
their  eyes  to  reveal  some  new  process  of  the  mind  as  to 
initiate  some  new  labor  which  assuaged  the  ills  of  hu- 


manity.  Religion  was  for  all  of  them  the  background  of 
every  action,  but  they  preferred  to  exemplify  religion 
through  its  fruits,  rather  than  in  the  stages  in  which  those 
fruits  were  produced. 

These  three  were  ready  to  anticipate  and  interpret  the 
great  economic  changes  in  their  time.  They  saw  that  the 
progress  of  industry  and  invention  in  the  nineteenth  cen- 
tury had  given  a  new  future  to  society.  Combined  with 
this,  either  as  a  forerunner  or  as  an  expression  of  it,  was 
the  development  of  free  political  institutions.  They  did 
not  wish  the  captains  of  religion  to  linger  in  an  atmo- 
sphere of  the  eighteenth  century,  when  the  atmosphere 
of  the  political  and  the  material  world  upon  which  their 
efforts  were  bestowed  had  changed  so  greatly.  They  were 
alike  in  holding  firmly  the  foundations  of  the  faith,  but 
they  gave  it  a  new  meaning  in  the  eyes  of  new  generations 
which  could  not  see  the  vista  as  their  fathers  had  seen  it. 

Gibbons  was  greatly  moved  by  the  loss  of  Manning's 
services  to  the  Church,  to  the  world  and  to  himself;  but 
the  spirit  of  Manning  lived  in  Leo  and  the  work  could  go 
on.  Thoughts  such  as  these  men  planted  could  not  perish. 
They  had  begun  too  much  to  have  it  undone  by  others. 


The  cause  of  international  peace  was  especially  dear 
to  the  heart  of  Gibbons.  He  was  not  content  to  speak 
and  write  for  it,  or,  in  fact,  for  any  cause  that  appealed 
to  him  with  exceptional  force ;  he  wished  to  translate  all 
of  his  stronger  sentiments  into  action,  for  that  was  the 
code  of  his  life.  Generalities  never  satisfied  him,  nor  easy 
conceptions  of  duty.  His  conscience  could  not  be  put  at 
rest  by  signing  his  name  to  a  document  and  leaving  to 
others  the  work  of  giving  it  effectiveness. 

Although  he  was  essentially  a  combatant  all  his  life, 
he  was  a  combatant  in  the  fields  of  truth  and  reason. 
Decisions  by  physical  force  of  controversies  between  na- 
tions appalled  him.  War  he  regarded  as  a  last  resort  for 
defense,  or  for  preventing  a  greater  evil.  In  his  own 
country  his  wish  was  to  see  all  vital  questions  decided 
by  the  ballot;  and  among  nations  he  was  an  earnest 
worker  for  arbitration. 

When  the  United  States  and  Great  Britain  came  peril- 
ously near  an  irreconcilable  difference  of  view  over  the 
Venezuela  boundary  dispute  in  1895,  Gibbons  sustained 
President  Cleveland  in  insisting  upon  arbitration  of  the 
boundary.    He  wrote  a  letter  to  the  President  commend- 



ing  his  stand  and  the  result  of  it  after  a  settlement  had 
been  effected.     The  letter  was: 

"Cardinal's   Residence, 

"408  N.  Charles  St., 


"November  13,  1896. 
"My  dear  Mr.  President: 

"Allow  me  to  congratulate  you  on  the  honorable  and 
happy  termination  of  the  Venezuelan  difficulty.  The 
opportuneness  and  wisdom  of  your  message  are  now  rec- 
ognized and  applauded,  though  at  the  time  of  its  publi- 
cation it  raised  a  storm. 

"The  amicable  adjustment  of  this  international  ques- 
tion is  a  fitting  crown  to  your  second  term  of  administra- 

"Faithfully  yrs. 

"J.  Card.  Gibbons." 
"Grover  Cleveland, 

''President  of  the  United  States." 

When  Great  Britain  accepted  arbitration.  Gibbons 
felt  that  the  conspicuous  illustration  of  the  benefits  of 
reason  rather  than  war  in  adjusting  international  con- 
troversies could  not  fail  of  effect  upon  the  world  at 
large.  His  chief  concern  was  as  to  whether  the  effect 
would  be  more  than  merely  temporary;  and  when  the 
movement  for  a  permanent  treaty  of  arbitration  between 
the  United  States  and  Great  Britain  was  started,  follow- 
ing the  adjustment  of  the  Venezuela  difference,  he  wel- 
comed the  opportunity  to  lend  it  his  heartiest  support. 

On  Easter  Sunday,  1896,  he  joined  Cardinals  Logue, 
of  Ireland,  and  Vaughan,  of  England,  the  representatives 


of  the  English  speaking  peoples  in  the  Sacred  College,  in 
an  appeal  in  behalf  of  a  permanent  tribunal  of  arbitra- 
tion. He  regretted  that  the  United  States  government 
was  not  then  ready  to  take  a  pronounced  position  in 
favor  of  a  permanent  international  court ;  but  the  appeal 
could  not  be  lost  upon  the  statesmen  of  the  world,  be- 
cause it  had  the  effect  of  arraying  English  speaking 
Catholics  on  the  side  of  this  great  and  humane  advance. 
The  text  *  of  the  appeal  was : 

^'An  appeal  by  the  American^  Irish  and  English  Car- 
dinals  in  behalf  of  a  permanent  tribunal  of  arbitration. 

"We,  the  undersigned  Cardinals,  representatives  of  the 
Catholic  Church  in  our  respective  countries,  invite  all 
who  hear  our  voices  to  cooperate  in  the  formation  of  a 
public  opinion  which  shall  demand  the  establishment  of 
a  permanent  tribunal  of  arbitration  as  a  rational  sub- 
stitute among  the  English-speaking  races  for  a  resort  to 
the  bloody  arbitration  of  war. 

"We  are  well  aware  that  such  a  project  is  beset  with 
practical  difficulties.  We  believe  that  they  will  not  prove 
to  be  insuperable  if  the  desire  to  overcome  them  be  genu- 
ine and  general.  Such  a  court  existed  for  centuries  when 
the  nations  of  Christendom  were  united  in  one  faith. 
And  have  we  not  seen  nations  appeal  to  that  same  court 
for  its  judgment  in  our  own  day*? 

"The  establishment  of  a  permanent  tribunal,  com- 
posed, maybe,  of  trusted  representatives  of  each  sover- 
eign nation,  with  power  to  nominate  judges  and  umpires, 
according  to  the  nature  of  the  differences  that  arise,  and 
a  common  acceptance  of  general  principles  defining  and 
limiting  the  jurisdiction  and  subject-matter  of  such  a 
tribunal,  would  create  new  guarantees  of  peace  that  could 
not  fail  to  influence  the  whole  of  Christendom. 

'  Cathedral   Archives,    Baltimore. 


"Such  an  international  court  of  arbitration  would 
form  a  second  line  of  defence,  to  be  called  into  requisition 
only  after  the  ordinary  resources  of  diplomacy  had  been 
exhausted.  It  would,  at  least,  postpone  the  outbreak  of 
hostilities  until  reason  and  common  sense  had  formally 
pronounced  their  last  word. 

"This  is  a  matter  of  which  the  constitution  and  pro- 
cedure must  be  settled  by  governments.  But  as  govern- 
ments are  becoming  more  and  more  identified  with  the  as- 
pirations and  moulded  by  the  desires  of  the  people,  an 
appeal  in  the  first  instance  must  be  addressed  to  the  peo- 

"We  do  not  hesitate  on  our  part  to  lift  up  our  united 
voices  and  proclaim  to  all  who  are  accustomed  to  hearken 
to  our  counsels  that  it  is  a  sign  of  a  Divine  influence  at 
work  in  their  midst  when  nation  shall  not  lift  up  sword 
against  nation,  neither  shall  they  be  exercised  any  more 
in  war,  (Isaiah,  ii,  4,)  for  it  was  written  for  a  future 
time:  'Come  ye  and  behold  the  work  of  the  Lord,  what 
wonders  He  hath  done  upon  the  earth,  making  wars  to 
cease  even  to  the  end  of  the  earth.'      (Psalms,  xvi,  9.) 

"Others  may  base  their  appeal  upon  motives  which 
touch  your  worldly  interests,  your  prosperity,  your  world- 
wide influence  and  authority  in  the  affairs  of  men.  The 
Catholic  Church  recognizes  the  legitimate  force  of  such 
motives  in  the  natural  order  and  blesses  whatever  tends 
to  the  real  progress  and  elevation  of  the  race. 

"But  our  main  ground  of  appeal  rests  upon  the  known 
character  and  will  of  the  Prince  of  Peace,  the  Living 
Founder,  the  Divine  Head  of  Christendom.  It  was  He 
who  declared  that  love  for  the  brotherhood  is  a  second 
commandment  to  the  people.  'Blessed,'  said  He,  'are  the 
peace-makers,  for  they  shall  be  called  the  children  of 
God.'     (Matt,  v,  9.) 

"We  therefore  earnestly  invite  all  to  unite  with  us  in 
pressing  their  convictions  and  desires  upon  their  respective 


governments  by  means  of  petitions  and  such  other  meas- 
ures as  are  constitutional. 

"James  Cardinal  Gibbons, 

"Archbishop  of  Baltimore. 
"Michael  Cardinal  Logue, 
"Archbishop  of  Armagh, 
"Primate  of  All  Ireland. 
"Herbert  Cardinal  Vaughan, 
"Archbishop  of  Westminster." 

In  a  sermon  on  international  peace  at  the  Baltimore 
Cathedral  Gibbons  voiced  the  faith  that  was  in  him, 
saying : 

"Christ's  mission  on  earth  was  to  establish  a  triple 
peace  in  the  hearts  of  men — peace  with  God  by  the  ob- 
servance of  his  commandments;  peace  with  our  fellow 
men  by  the  practise  of  justice  and  charity;  and  peace 
within  our  own  breasts  by  keeping  our  passions  subject  to 
reason  and  our  reason  in  harmony  with  the  Divine  Law." 

He  proceeded  to  say  that  arbitration  in  the  settlement 
of  international  disputes  was  a  system  which  "while  pro- 
tecting the  rights  of  the  weak  will  not  wound  or  humiliate 
the  national  pride  of  the  strong,  since  it  does  not  at- 
tempt to  trench  on  the  sovereignty  or  autonomy  of  the 
mightier  power."    He  added : 

"Let  us  cherish  the  hope  that  the  day  is  not  far  off 
when  the  reign  of  the  Prince  of  Peace  shall  be  firmly 
established  on  the  earth  and  the  spirit  of  the  gospel  will 
so  far  sway  the  minds  and  hearts  of  rulers  and  cabinets 
that  international  disputes  will  be  decided  not  by  stand- 
ing armies  but  by  permanent  courts  of  arbitration — when 
they  will  be  settled  not  on  the  battlefield  but  in  the  halls 
of  conciliation." 


Scarcely  two  years  passed  before  he  was  put  to  the  test 
to  defend  his  principles  in  another  period  of  stress.  No 
American  felt  more  acutely  than  he,  when  the  battleship 
Maine  was  blown  up  in  Havana  harbor  February  15, 
1898,  that  in  all  probability  it  would  mean  a  war  be- 
tween his  country  and  Spain.  He  lost  no  time  in  taking 
a  positive  stand  against  such  a  war,  except  as  a  last  resort 
from  which  there  could  be  no  honorable  escape. 

For  the  good  name  of  humanity,  he  hoped  and  believed 
that  the  explosion  was  caused  by  an  accident,  and  in  that 
case  Spain  could  not  be  held  responsible  for  it;  neither, 
he  declared,  was  Spain  to  blame  if  a  Cuban  had  caused 
the  fearful  loss  of  life  in  order  to  embroil  the  United 
States  in  war  with  Spain.  Even  if  some  fanatical  Span- 
iard had  perpetrated  the  crime,  he  could  see  no  necessity 
for  war.  Active  hostilities  could  only  be  warranted,  he 
maintained,  if  evidence  could  be  produced  that  the  Span- 
ish government  had  connived  at  the  explosion;  but  he 
refused  to  believe,  and  held  that  no  sane  man  could  be- 
lieve, that  a  chivalric  Christian  nation  would  be  guilty 
of  such  inhumanity. 

When  the  United  States  government  appointed  a  com- 
mission to  investigate  the  cause  of  the  disaster,  he  pub- 
licly advised  that  the  people  should  await  the  verdict 
calmly  and  dispassionately  and  should  not  anticipate  it. 
In  this  the  ground  which  he  took  was  the  same  as  that 
of  the  President  and  the  other  principal  officials  who 
exercised  authority  in  America,  for  all  of  them  felt  that 
it  was  a  time  for  the  utmost  moderation  by  those  directly 
responsible  for  the  outcome  of  the  crisis.^ 

'Lodge,  The  War  luith  Spain,  p.  29. 


The  marked  superiority  of  the  military  resources  of 
America  over  those  of  Spain  was  to  Gibbons  an  addi- 
tional reason  for  moderation.  He  felt,  and  frequently 
expressed  the  thought  both  then  and  on  other  occasions, 
that  the  record  of  America  in  the  family  of  nations  was, 
on  the  whole,  a  record  of  magnanimity  and  justice.  The 
unequal  conflict  which  he  foresaw  as  probable  appeared 
to  him  to  mean  merely  a  waste  of  life.  He  felt  that  all 
the  important  results  which  would  flow  from  it  could  be 
accomplished  by  peaceful  means. 

Throughout  the  trying  period  while  the  American  in- 
quiry on  the  Maine  explosion  was  in  progress  he  upheld 
the  conduct  of  the  authorities  as  worthy  of  all  praise.  A 
solemn  requiem  Mass  for  the  officers  and  sailors  who 
had  lost  their  lives  in  the  explosion  was  offered  by 
his  direction  in  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on  February  28. 
Gibbons  preached  and  expressed  the  opinion  that  it  was 
out  of  the  question  to  believe  that  Spain  was  responsible 
for  the  disaster.    He  said: 

"We  do  not  realize  how  ardently  we  love  our  country 
until  some  crisis  occurs  which  awakens  our  devotion  to 
her  and  arouses  our  admiration  and  gratitude  for  those 
who  have  died  in  her  service.  Such  a  crisis  has  quite 
recently  occurred;  for  we  have  assembled  to  assist  at  the 
holy  sacrifice  offered  up  for  the  souls  of  the  brave  officers 
and  men  who  have  lost  their  lives  at  the  post  of  duty. 
Too  much  praise  can  not  be  bestowed  on  the  President, 
his  Cabinet,  and  particularly  on  the  Secretary  of  the 
Navy  and  his  able  assistants,  as  well  as  on  the  Houses  of 
Congress,  for  the  calmness  and  tranquillity,  the  self-con- 
trol and  the  self-possession  which  they  have  exhibited 
during  the  fearful  ordeal  through  which  the  country  has 


been  passing  in  the  last  few  days.  It  needed  only  a  spark 
to  kindle  a  great  conflagration,  and  the  patient  and  dig- 
nified bearing  of  the  Executive  and  Legislative  bodies  is 
all  the  more  commendable  in  view  of  the  mischievous 
and  intemperate  utterances  of  some  sensational  papers. 

"This  nation  is  too  brave,  too  strong  and  too  just  to 
engage  in  an  unrighteous  or  precipitate  war.  Let  us  re- 
member that  the  eyes  of  the  world  are  upon  us,  whose 
judgment  we  can  not  despise,  and  that  we  will  gain  more 
applause  and  credit  for  ourselves  by  calm  deliberation 
than  by  recourse  to  arms.  'Thrice  is  he  armed  who  hath 
his  quarrel  just.'  " 

He  gave  his  full  support  to  a  movement  which  was 
started  in  Baltimore  to  contribute  to  a  fund  for  a  memo- 
rial to  the  Maine's  dead.  When  a  meeting  was  held  at  the 
City  Hall  to  arrange  a  public  demonstration  in  aid  of  the 
fund,  he  accepted  an  invitation  to  act  as  a  member  of  the 
committee  in  charge  of  it. 

On  Palm  Sunday,  April  3,  when  sermons  were  deliv- 
ered throughout  the  country  by  ministers  of  all  denomi- 
nations urging  the  people  to  be  calm,  Gibbons  again  oc- 
cupied the  pulpit  of  the  Cathedral,  joining  in  the  na- 
tional movement  to  invoke  the  principles  of  religion  in 
the  deliberations  upon  the  grave  decision  that  was  then 
soon  to  be  made.    He  said : 

"On  this  day  when  we  commemorate  the  entrance  of 
the  Lord  of  Peace  into  Jerusalem,  let  us  implore  Him 
that  He  will  so  guide  the  minds  and  hearts  of  the  Presi- 
dent and  members  of  Congress ;  that  He  will  so  direct  the 
counsels  of  Spain ;  that  He  may  inspire  both  nations  with 
a  happy  solution  of  the  problem  which  confronts  us,  a 
solution  honorable  to  both  nations,  so  that  the  clouds  of 


war  may  be  dispelled  and  the  blessings  of  peace  may  be 

Regarding  the  Pope  as  the  Vicar  on  earth  of  the  Prince 
of  Peace,  he  rejoiced  when  Cardinal  Rampolla,  acting 
in  behalf  of  Leo  XIII,  formally  offered  mediation  April 
2.^  In  America,  Cardinal  Gibbons  and  Archbishop  Ire- 
land were  especially  active  in  public  support  of  this  plan. 
Spain  accepted  the  offer,  replying  to  Rampolla  as  fol- 

"The  moment  the  United  States  Government  is  dis- 
posed to  accept  the  aid  of  the  Pope,  the  Queen  of  Spain 
and  her  Government  will  gladly  accept  his  mediation; 
and  in  order  to  facilitate  the  high  mission  of  peace  and 
concord  which  his  Holiness  is  attempting,  promise  fur- 
ther to  accept  the  proposal  that  the  Holy  Father  shall 
formulate  a  suspension  of  hostilities ;  informing  his  Holi- 
ness that,  for  the  honor  of  Spain,  it  is  proper  that  a  truce 
should  be  accompanied  by  the  retirement  of  the  Ameri- 
can squadron  from  the  waters  of  the  Antilles,  in  order 
that  the  North  American  Republic  may  also  show  its 
purpose  not  to  support,  voluntarily  or  involuntarily,  the 
insurrection  in  Cuba." 

In  the  United  States  the  war  feeling  had  become  so 
inflamed  that  mediation  proved  to  be  impossible.  Gib- 
bons was  not  surprised  when,  in  the  excited  temper  of  the 
time,  the  Papal  action  was  assailed  in  some  quarters  as 
an  attempt  at  interference.  When  the  situation  was 
near  the  point  of  greatest  tension,  the  Spanish  Minister 
of  Foreign  Affairs  made  the  unfortunate  statement  that 
Papal  mediation  came  at  the  suggestion  of  President 

'Spanish  Diplomatic  Correspondence  and  Documents,  1896-1900. 


McKinley,  and  this  further  ruffled  the  waves  of  popular 
excitement.  Mediation,  of  course,  was  not  to  be  con- 
founded with  intervention,  and  the  Pope  never  went  fur- 
ther than  to  convey  to  the  two  powers,  in  an  informal 
manner,  his  earnest  hope  that  war  might  be  averted,  plac- 
ing his  help  and  influence  at  the  service  of  the  two  gov- 
ernments impartially. 

Gibbons  hoped  that  the  Cuban  insurgents  could  be  per- 
suaded to  agree  to  an  armistice,  in  order  that  steps  for 
mediation  might  be  taken.  Archbishop  Ireland,  with  the 
full  sympathy  of  the  Cardinal,  went  to  Washington  and 
used  his  efforts  to  induce  the  American  government  to 
negotiate  with  the  insurgents  for  that  purpose.  Nothing 
which  could  be  done  served  to  lessen  the  force  of  the  con- 
stantly increasing  demand  in  America  for  war,  for  in  the 
minds  of  the  people  there  was  a  fixed  conviction  that  they 
had  been  the  victims  of  an  atrocious  national  insult. 
Ireland's  attempt  to  prepare  the  ground  for  formal  medi- 
ation failed,  and,  the  consent  of  both  powers  being  unob- 
tainable, the  Pope  was  unable  to  proceed  beyond  the 
presentation  of  his  offer.* 

Representatives  of  Great  Britain,  France,  Germany, 
Austria  and  Russia  supported  at  Madrid,  on  April  8,  the 
Papal  suggestion  of  an  immediate  armistice  in  Cuba. 
Two  days  before,  the  representatives  of  the  same  powers 
in  Washington  had  made  a  united  appeal  for  peace  to 
President  McKinley.  Spain  was  so  desirous  of  averting 
war  that  in  her  reply  to  these  powers,  April  9,  she  went 

*  Benton,  International  Law  and  Diplomacy  of  the  Spanish-American 
fVar,  pp.  86-89. 


so  far  as  to  announce  a  suspension  of  hostilities  against 
the  insurgents.  This  concession  was  too  late  to  be  ef- 

Gibbons  shared  the  disappointment  of  Archbishop  Ire- 
land, and  of  many  other  peace-loving  Americans,  at  the 
failure  of  the  efforts  to  avert  war.  He  believed  that  had 
the  United  States  agreed  to  mediation  there  would  have 
been  little  doubt  that  peace  could  have  been  secured  on 
the  basis  of  Cuban  independence,  and  subsequent  evi- 
dence showed  that  his  view  was  well  founded.  The 
situation  was  complicated  by  the  fact  that  the  passions 
aroused  by  the  destruction  of  the  Maine  had  stirred  a 
popular  feeling  in  the  United  States  for  which  there  was 
no  offsetting  influence  in  Spain;  and  although  Min- 
ister Woodford,  then  the  representative  of  the  United 
States  at  Madrid,  subsequently  declared  that  President 
McKinley  desired  to  avert  war,  and  other  testimony  on 
this  point  was  overwhelming,  the  tide  was  too  strong  to 
be  stemmed  at  Washington.^ 

Gibbons  was  firmly  convinced  that  the  majority  of  the 
conservative  people  of  the  United  States  did  not  desire 
war.  He  had  seen  a  new  generation  grow  up  since  the 
horrors  of  the  great  civil  conflict,  which  knew  nothing 
of  the  miseries  that  follow  in  the  wake  of  such  convul- 
sions; and  he  attributed  the  inflammable  state  of  public 
opinion  chiefly  to  the  young  and  the  adventurous.  Al- 
though his  hope  of  peace  waned,  he  did  not  give  up  his 
efforts  until  America  had  embarked  definitely  upon  the 

'  Morris,  The  War  with  Spain,  pp.  124,  125. 


From  the  moment  when  the  final  decision  was  made 
in  Washington  he  threw  in  his  lot  unreservedly  with  his 
country.    In  a  public  address,^  June  13,  he  said: 

"We  must  love  our  country  next  to  God,  and  be  ready 
to  die  for  it  if  necessary.  We  must  loyally  and  firmly 
sustain  our  laws  and  our  governing  powers.  There  was  a 
time,  before  the  war  began,  when  every  citizen  had  the 
right  to  express  his  views  upon  the  policy  of  the  nation; 
but  after  Congress  has  spoken  the  words  that  bring  us 
to  war,  it  is  our  duty  now  to  work  with  and  for  our  coun- 
try, and  by  prayer  for  and  full  sympathy  with  those  in 
authority  to  help  bring  the  conflict  to  a  speedy  and  suc- 
cessful conclusion." 

As  masses  of  men  were  hastily  called  from  civil  life 
for  service  in  the  army  and  navy,  Gibbons,  as  a  minister 
of  religion,  devoted  his  utmost  efforts  toward  providing 
good  influences  for  them.  In  a  visit  to  President  Mc- 
Kinley  at  Washington,  he  urgently  recommended  that 
additional  Catholic  chaplains  be  assigned  to  duty  with  the 
forces  on  land  and  sea,  so  that  they  might  be  more  nearly 
in  proportion  to  the  number  of  Catholics  in  the  service. 
He  pointed  out  to  the  President  that  although  a  great 
number  of  Catholics  were  wearing  the  uniform  of  their 
country,  only  a  few  chaplains  of  their  own  faith  were 
available  to  protect  their  spiritual  welfare.  McKinley, 
like  his  recent  predecessors,  knew  Gibbons  well  and 
highly  esteemed  him.  He  listened  sympathetically  to  the 
plea  for  additional  chaplains  and  readily  agreed  that  they 
should  be  provided,  accepting  the  recommendations  of 
Gibbons  and  other  prelates  as  to  their  qualifications. 

*At  the  commencement  of  Loyola  College  in  Baltimore. 


Gibbons  hoped  that  the  conflict  would  be  at  least  short, 
as  the  result  seemed  to  him  to  be  never  in  doubt.  He 
was  engaged  in  diocesan  work  in  Western  Maryland  when 
the  battle  of  July  3  resulted  in  the  utter  overthrow  of  the 
fleet  of  the  Spanish  admiral,  Cervera,  for  whose  high 
character  and  courage  he  shared  the  genuine  respect  which 
Americans  generally  felt.  He  rejoiced  at  the  chivalrous 
feeling  which  prompted  the  abundant  courtesies  shown 
to  Cervera  when  the  defeated  admiral  was  conveyed  as  a 
prisoner  to  the  Naval  Academy  at  Annapolis,  and  took 
an  early  opportunity  of  visiting  him  there.  The  admiral 
freely  expressed  to  Gibbons  his  satisfaction  with  his 
treatment  by  his  American  captors.  Upon  his  release, 
before  starting  for  his  home  in  Spain,  he  called  upon  the 
Cardinal  in  Baltimore  and  bade  him  farewell. 

Gibbons'  whole  aim  was  cooperation  with  the  Ameri- 
can authorities  until  the  conflict  was  ended.  He  took 
prompt  action  in  accordance  with  the  proclamation  of 
President  McKinley  in  July  inviting  the  people  of  the 
nation  to  offer  thanks  for  the  American  victories.  A  cir- 
cular letter  "^  to  the  clergy  which  he  prepared  was  read 
in  all  the  churches  of  the  Baltimore  archdiocese  on  Sun- 
day, July  17,  in  which  he  said: 

"While  the  President  naturally  rejoices  in  the  extra- 
ordinary achievements  of  our  naval  forces,  he  is  far  from 
indulging  in  a  tone  of  vain  complacency  and  passionate 
exultation.  Filled  with  a  profound  sense  of  his  responsi- 
bilities as  the  chief  magistrate  of  a  great  nation,  and  in 
solemn  language  worthy  of  the  occasion,  he  depicts  the 
horrors  of  war  with  its  long  train  of  suffering,  disease  and 

*  Cathedral  Archives,  Baltimore. 


death,  and  he  asks  us  to  implore  the  Lord  of  Hosts,  who 
holds  in  His  hand  the  destinies  of  nations  and  of  men,  to 
restore  to  our  beloved  country  the  blessings  of  peace.  In 
compliance  with  the  President's  proclamation,  you  will 
request  your  congregation  to  unite  with  you  in  thanking 
Almighty  God  for  the  victories  He  has  vouchsafed  to  us ; 
in  beseeching  Him  to  protect  our  brave  soldiers  and 
sailors  from  the  dangers  of  disease  and  death  which  sur- 
round them;  to  lead  the  conflict  in  which  they  are  en- 
gaged to  a  speedy  and  happy  issue  and  bring  back  to  us 
once  more  the  inestimable  blessings  of  enduring  peace  at 
home  and  abroad.  You  will  also  exhort  your  congrega- 
tion to  pray  for  those  brave  men  who  have  sacrificed  their 
lives  in  their  country's  cause." 

When  more  than  one  hundred  members  of  a  Mary- 
land regiment  were  brought  back  from  the  front  to  a 
hospital  in  Baltimore,  Gibbons  hastened  to  visit  them, 
shaking  hands  with  and  speaking  a  few  kindly  words  to 

The  perilous  situation  of  the  priests  in  the  Spanish 
colonies  where  the  war  was  in  progress  moved  his  sym- 
pathy.   He  wrote  in  his  journal: 

"Aug.  18.  Received  the  following  cablegram: 
'Hong  Kong,  Aug.  18,  1898.  Use  influence  release  one 
hundred  priests  arrested  by  insurgents  at  Cavite. 
PiAzzoLi.'  Mgr.  Piazzoli  is  Vicar  Apostolic  of  Hong 

"Aug.  21.  Sent  him  the  following  answer :  'President 
instructs  (General)  Merritt  to  protect  lives  and  property 
of  priests.'  On  receiving  the  dispatch  I  communicated 
with  the  President  through  Archbishop  Ireland,  who  was 
in  Washington.  The  President  informed  his  Grace  that 
General  Merritt,  commander  at  Manila,  had  instructions 


to  protect  the  lives  and  property  of  all,  and  to  have  no 
dealings  with  Aguinaldo,  the  rebel  leader.  Had  a  con- 
ference with  Archbishop  Ireland  and  the  Apostolic  Dele- 
gate. The  latter  came  with  a  letter  from  Cardinal  Ram- 
poUa,  who  requested  the  Delegate  to  confer  with  me  re- 
garding the  Cuban  and  Philippine  situation  in  the  inter- 
ests of  religion.  The  Delegate  sent  a  full  account  of 
transactions  to  Cardinal  Rampolla,  stating  what  we  have 
done  and  hope  to  do  in  the  future." 

Secretary  Alger,  of  the  War  Department,  exerted  his 
influence  to  prevent  persecution  of  the  clergy  in  the 
Philippines  in  the  period  following  the  cessation  of  active 
hostilities  with  Spain.  Gibbons  wrote  him  a  letter  of 
thanks  after  one  case  of  his  intervention,  in  which  he  said 
that  the  Secretary's  conduct  "merits  the  lasting  gratitude 
of  the  suffering  clergy  in  the  Philippines." 

Gibbons'  chief  role,  so  far  as  the  Spanish-American 
War  period  was  concerned,  began  after  the  few  months 
of  fighting  had  ceased.  It  was  in  a  sequel  of  the  war  that 
he  found  his  main  opportunity  to  serve  both  Church  and 
country  and  the  service  that  he  gave  was  among  the 
most  important  which  he  ever  contributed  to  either.  Dur- 
ing the  actual  clash  at  arms  he  could  only  devote  his 
labors  as  a  minister  of  religion  to  the  welfare  and  spiritual 
care  of  the  soldiers  and  sailors,  and  as  a  citizen  to  sup- 
porting the  national  authorities  by  word,  deed  and  ex- 
ample to  the  utmost  of  his  power.  But  with  the  truce  and 
the  preparations  for  negotiating  a  treaty  of  peace  the 
question  of  whether  millions  of  Catholics  in  the  islands 
where  the  rule  of  Spain  had  been  overthrown  were  to  be 
transferred  to  American  sovereignty  developed  as  the 
principal  problem  of  the  country.    Were  the  Philippines 


to  be  held  indefinitely  and,  if  so,  under  what  status;  and 
what  was  to  be  the  fate  of  Porto  Rico? 

McKinley  was  doubtful  when  the  future  of  these 
islands,  then  fully  occupied  by  American  troops,  came 
to  be  decided ;  and  he  took  counsel  with  the  wisest  whom 
he  could  consult  upon  a  question  of  so  much  moment.  A 
summons  sent  to  Baltimore  brought  Gibbons  to  the  White 
House  for  consultation  but  left  him  in  ignorance  of  the 
subject.  This,  in  itself,  did  not  surprise  him,  for  he  had 
been  in  touch  with  McKinley  rather  frequently  and 
knew  that  there  were  many  pending  matters  regarding 
which  the  President  would  desire  his  help. 

Arriving  at  the  White  House  he  was  soon  ushered  in  to 
the  presence  of  McKinley,  who,  as  usual,  greeted  him 
with  marked  cordiality.  After  only  a  few  words  had 
been  exchanged  the  President  suddenly  revealed  the  rea- 
son of  the  summons  by  asking  Gibbons  directly  for  his 
opinion  as  to  whether  it  would  be  best  for  the  United 
States  to  retain  the  Philippines. 

The  Cardinal  was  startled.  He  had  positive  views 
on  the  subject  but  had  been  especially  solicitous  to  keep 
them  in  the  background,  avoiding  participation  in  the 
political  solution  of  the  problem,  avoiding  above  all  else 
hampering  the  civil  authorities  in  any  way  in  dealing 
with  weighty  questions  regarding  which  they  must  take 
the  responsibility  before  the  country  and  the  world. 

He  felt  that  the  Catholic  religion  was  safer  under  the 
American  flag  than  anywhere  else.  The  impartial  but 
full  protection  of  that  flag  was  the  best  shield  for  the 
Church's  spiritual  mission.  She  was  free  in  America,  as 
the  people  were  free.    None  dared  interfere,  none  in  au- 


thority  thought  of  interfering,  in  the  internal  affairs  of 
the  Church,  directly  or  remotely.  Spoliation,  to  which 
the  Church  in  Europe  was  not  a  stranger,  then  or  since, 
was  undreamed  of  where  the  Stars  and  Stripes  stood  as 
the  symbol  of  guardianship  for  religion  and  order. 

But  Gibbons  had  not  wished  to  see  America  become  a 
colonial  power  and,  more  than  that,  he  had  not  wished 
to  see  her  take  lands  and  peoples  by  force.  He  wished 
her  to  be  an  exemplar  to  the  world  of  what  other  nations 
had  failed  to  be  in  this  respect.  The  example  of  liberty 
and  justice  which,  in  his  view,  the  main  outlines  of  her 
history  presented,  was  more  to  her,  more  to  civilization, 
than  any  act  of  aggression  or  force,  no  matter  how  suc- 
cessful. These  were  the  thoughts  which  sped  through 
his  brain  when  McKinley  startled  him  with  the  direct 
question  as  to  his  views  on  the  retention  of  the  Philip- 

For  all  his  desire  to  be  aloof  from  the  Philippine  ques- 
tion, he  felt  that  he  would  be  wanting  in  patriotism  as 
well  as  frankness  and  fairness  to  the  President  if  he  failed 
to  respond.  McKinley  had  the  clear  right  to  ask  for 
advice  from  any  citizen,  and  it  was  a  citizen's  duty  to 
give  that  advice  with  an  eye  single  to  the  truth.  Gib- 
bons' answer  to  the  question  as  to  whether  the  Philip- 
pines ought  to  be  retained  was: 

"Mr.  President,  it  would  be  a  good  thing  for  the  Cath- 
olic Church  but,  I  fear,  a  bad  one  for  the  United  States." 

McKinley's  ultimate  course  was  determined  by  exi- 
gencies of  a  political  and  international  nature.  If  all  the 
views  which  he  received  in  his  consultations  on  the  settle- 
ment of  the  war  had  been  as  genuine  as  those  of  his 


friend,  the  Prince  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  America, 
many  stumbling  blocks  would  have  been  removed  from 
his  difficult  path  of  duty  in  the  years  just  preceding  his 
assassination  in  office. 

The  Philippines  were  retained,  but  the  peace  which 
ensued  was,  so  far  as  they  were  concerned,  only  a  peace 
on  paper.  In  the  insurrection  against  the  American  au- 
thorities which  burst  out,  force  of  arms  was,  indeed,  suf- 
ficient to  crush  one  body  of  native  troops  after  another 
as  they  gave  organized  resistance  to  the  new  authority 
dominant  in  the  islands;  but  it  was  not  sufficient  to  sup- 
press or  even  to  lessen  the  main  cause  of  disaffection 
which,  as  was  soon  evident,  threatened  to  keep  alive  for 
an  indefinite  time  a  smoldering  fire  of  hostility,  which 
would  inevitably  increase  to  a  blaze  periodically  de- 
spite the  utmost  measures  which  the  American  authorities 
were  able  to  take. 

This  cause  was  the  friar  land  question — a  special  prob- 
lem of  the  Philippines  and  essentially  a  political  one  in 
1898.  It  was  by  no  means  complicated  with  any  desire 
to  throw  off  allegiance  to  the  Church,  which  had  carried 
the  light  of  Christianity  to  the  Filipinos  centuries  before. 
By  means  of  almost  incredible  sacrifices  on  the  part  of 
Spanish  missionaries,  the  natives  of  those  islands  had  be- 
come the  only  Christian  people  in  all  Eastern  Asia  and  the 
territories  adjacent.  With  religion  had  come  the  spirit 
of  civilization  among  the  previously  barbarous  tribes. 
The  Church  had  been  the  nursing  mother  of  the  Philip- 
pine people  and  they  knew  it. 

In  time,  by  a  process  which  appears  to  have  been  in- 
evitable in  the  special  conditions  that  accompanied  the 


reclamation  of  the  Philippines  from  savagery,  the  mem- 
bers of  the  religious  orders  had  come  to  absorb  many  of 
the  functions  of  government.^  In  the  Island  of  Luzon 
and  to  some  extent  in  other  parts  of  the  archipelago  the 
friars  were  ardent  Spaniards  as  well  as  ardent  priests. 
They  became  inspectors  of  the  primary  schools  and  presi- 
dents of  the  boards  of  health,  prisons  and  charities;  were 
in  charge  of  the  collection  of  taxes;  acted  as  recruiting 
officers  for  the  Spanish  army;  attended  municipal  elec- 
tions and  council  meetings,  audited  municipal  accounts 
and  passed  upon  budgets.  While  the  Spanish  officials 
in  the  islands  were  few  in  number  and  were  continually 
changed,  the  friars  resided  permanently  in  the  country, 
identifying  themselves  completely  with  the  people.  As 
was  reported  by  the  Taft  Commission: 

"The  truth  is  that  the  whole  government  of  Spain  in 
these  islands  rested  on  the  friars.  .  .  .  Once  settled  in  a 
territory,  a  priest  usually  continued  there  until  super- 
annuation. He  was,  therefore,  a  constant  political  factor 
for  a  generation.  The  same  was  true  of  the  Archbishops 
and  the  Bishops.  .  .  .  The  friars  were  exempt  from  trial 
for  offenses,  except  the  most  heinous,  in  the  ordinary  civil 
courts  of  the  islands,  under  the  Spanish  rule." 

Through  their  permanent  residence,  the  superior  de- 
velopment and  cultivation  of  their  lands,  their  habits  of 
personal  frugality  and  the  accretion  of  gifts  and  bequests 
from  the  pious,  the  friars  came  to  be  the  legal  possessors 
of  the  largest  proportion  of  the  lucrative  agricultural 
property  in  the  Philippines.  In  the  Aguinaldo  revolution 
native  political  leaders  not  only  sought  to  seize  their 

'  Atkinson,  The  Philippine  Islands,  p.  320  et  seq. 


lands  but  also  drove  many  of  them  from  the  islands  as 
refugees.  With  the  gradual  restoration  of  peace  and  the 
establishment  of  American  authority  in  one  district  after 
another,  they  began  to  return. 

The  transfer  of  the  islands  to  American  rule  resulted 
at  once  in  depriving  them  of  their  civil  functions;  but  it 
was  incumbent  upon  the  United  States  to  protect  them 
in  the  ownership  of  their  lands  and  it  became  apparent 
that  there  could  be  no  permanent  peace  in  the  Philippines 
unless  those  lands  were  acquired  for  wide  distribution 
under  the  auspices  of  the  new  government. 

Negotiations  with  the  friars  were  begun  and  proceeded 
for  months  while  new  revolts  were  threatened.  There 
was  a  wide  divergence  as  to  the  amount  to  be  paid  for 
the  immensely  rich  tracts  of  which  they  were  the  owners 
and  as  to  the  terms  under  which  the  transfer  would  be 

President  Roosevelt,  strongly  convinced  that  the  pur- 
chase of  the  friar  lands  was  the  one  thing  needed  to  bring 
peace  in  the  Philippines,  strove  to  the  utmost  of  his 
ability  to  bring  about  an  accommodation  of  terms  which 
would  make  a  solution  possible.  One  failure  after  an- 
other confronted  him. 

When  a  complete  impasse  had  been  reached  and  Roose- 
velt was  at  his  wits'  end  regarding  the  next  step  to  be 
taken,  Cardinal  Gibbons,  whom  he  had  known  well  be- 
fore he  became  President  and  whom  he,  like  McKinley, 
had  been  accustomed  to  consult  on  problems  growing  out 
of  the  war,  visited  him  one  day  at  the  White  House.  The 
substance  of  their  conversation,  after  the  exchange  of 
personal  compliments,  was: 


Gibbons. — I  observe,  Mr.  President,  that  you  are  de- 
sirous of  obtaining  an  agreement  for  the  settlement  of 
the  friar  land  question  in  the  Philippines. 

Roosevelt. — Your  Eminence,  that  is  the  greatest  dif- 
ficulty that  I  am  having.  It  is  the  one  problem  which  at 
present  completely  baffles  me.  I  know  that  there  must 
be  a  settlement  in  order  to  bring  about  permanent  peace 
in  the  Islands  and  have  tried  my  best  to  bring  about  a 
settlement.  Mr.  Taft  ^  has  also  done  his  utmost,  and  we 
are  both  powerless. 

Gibbons. — On  what  terms  do  you  wish  to  make  a  set- 
tlement, Mr.  President  9 

Roosevelt. — The  main  question  is,  of  course,  the  price 
to  be  paid.  If  we  can  arrange  that  I  believe  that  other 
things  can  be  adjusted. 

Gibbons. — Would  you  be  disposed  to  tell  me  of  your 
terms,  both  as  to  price  and  other  general  conditions^ 

Roosevelt. — Oh,  yes.  The  utmost  which  it  seems 
possible  to  obtain  the  consent  of  Congress  to  paying  for 
these  lands  is  about  $7,000,000.  We  wish  to  resell  the 
lands  to  other  purchasers  in  comparatively  small  holdings, 
so  that  the  friars  will  no  longer  be  a  factor  in  the  eco- 
nomic situation  in  the  Philippines. 

Gibbons. — I  will  undertake,  Mr.  President,  to  obtain 
a  settlement  for  you  on  the  terms  which  you  state.  I 
have  no  suggestion  of  my  own  on  the  subject. 

Steps  to  give  effectiveness  to  Gibbons'  undertaking 
were  in  progress  almost  immediately.  Roosevelt  sent 
Taft  to  Rome  to  negotiate  for  a  complete  settlement  after 
Taft  had  conferred  with  Gibbons  in  Baltimore.  The 
negotiations  in  Rome  formed  a  precedent  for  the  Ameri- 
can Government,  which  had  not  for  a  long  time  found  it 
necessary  to  deal  directly  with  the  Papacy.    Final  accord 

'  Then  civil  governor  of  the  Philippines. 


upon  every  detail  of  the  problem  was  arranged  upon  the 
terms  laid  down  by  Mr.  Roosevelt. 

With  the  dispersal  of  ownership  of  the  friar  lands,  the 
way  was  open  for  a  permanent  American  policy  of  pre- 
paring the  Filipinos  for  the  gradual  assumption  of  the 
functions  of  self  government.  A  sudden  and  mysterious 
force  had  intervened  in  the  land  question  of  which  the 
public  did  not  know,  for  neither  Gibbons  nor  Roosevelt, 
naturally,  could  disclose  it  at  the  time.  It  was  the  force 
of  Gibbons.  For  the  Cardinal's  services  in  this,  one  of 
the  most  perplexing  obstacles  which  Roosevelt  encoun- 
tered while  serving  as  President,  he  cherished  to  his 
death  unfailing  gratitude  and  deep  affection. 

Gibbons  devoted  himself  with  energy  to  the  readjust- 
ment of  the  general  conditions  under  which  the  Church 
existed  in  the  Philippines,  Cuba  and  Porto  Rico.  This 
was  his  especial  mission  when  he  paid  a  visit  to  Rome 
in  the  spring  of  1901.  Before  his  departure  he  sum- 
moned to  Baltimore  Archbishops  Ireland,  Williams  and 
Kain,  whom  he  consulted  as  to  his  program. 

He  arrived  in  Rome  May  22,  having  been  preceded 
only  a  few  days  by  his  warm  friend.  Archbishop  Chapelle, 
an  American  prelate  who  had  been  appointed  Papal  Dele- 
gate to  the  Philippines,  and  Mgr.  Nozaleda,  Archbishop 
of  Manila.  Taking  up  his  residence  at  the  Procura  of 
St.  Sulpice,  he  was  soon  engrossed  in  a  series  of  consul- 
tations with  Leo  XIII  and  other  high  authorities  of  the 
Church.  Gibbons  was  rejoiced  to  find  Leo,  at  ninety- two, 
fully  equal  to  facing  every  detail  of  the  problems  which 
had  to  be  settled  and  receptive  to  his  own  views.  The 
Pope's  memory  for  details  continued  to  be  marvelous. 


Gibbons  had  informed  him  fully  by  letter  of  general  con- 
ditions in  the  United  States  and  in  the  recently  trans- 
ferred Spanish  islands  and  of  the  difficulties  which  had 
to  be  met. 

The  Pope  was  not  only  keenly  alert  as  to  ecclesiastical 
conditions  with  which  it  was  necessary  to  deal,  but  as  to 
the  political  and  economic  aspects  of  the  new  situation. 
He  told  Gibbons,  as  he  always  did  when  the  American 
Cardinal  visited  him  in  Rome,  of  the  especial  love  for 
the  American  people  of  which  he  had  given  abundant  evi- 
dence, and  showed  a  marked  disposition  to  cooperate  with 
them  in  the  readjustment  in  the  Philippines,  Cuba  and 
Porto  Rico.  He  relied,  he  said,  upon  the  sense  of  justice 
of  the  President  and  his  advisers  in  working  out  the  sit- 
uation. Leo  agreed  with  Gibbons  that  one  of  the  great- 
est needs  was  the  sending  of  American  priests  to  the 
islands  who  would  understand  the  American  system  as 
applied  to  Church  and  State  better  than  the  Spanish 
priests  and  friars. 

Arrangements  were  rapidly  completed  for  the  purchase 
of  the  property  rights  of  the  Church  in  Cuba  and  Porto 
Rico  as  a  means  of  abolishing  the  public  support  of  the 
clergy.  With  these  adaptations  to  new  conditions  Leo 
expressed  himself  as  thoroughly  satisfied.  The  American 
Government,  he  said,  gave  proof  of  good  will  and  ex- 
pressed in  acts  a  spirit  of  justice  and  of  respect  for  the 
liberty  and  rights  of  the  Church.  He  voiced  the  firm 
conviction  that  there  would  be  due  respect  for  rights 
of  property  and  of  conscience  under  the  government.  The 
mass  of  reports  which  he  received  from  Bishops  and 
others  confirmed  him  in  this  view  and  he  was  glad  to 


express  his  gratitude  to  the  President  for  the  fairness  and 
forbearance  that  had  been  shown. 

While  in  Rome  Gibbons  gave  a  dinner  at  which  seven 
nationalities  were  represented  in  the  group  of  fourteen 
persons,  including  two  other  Cardinals,  three  Arch- 
bishops, three  Bishops,  four  priests  and  two  laymen.  He 
commented  upon  this  as  exemplifying  in  a  striking  man- 
ner the  unity  of  the  Catholic  faith,  which  had  remained 
with  him  as  an  especially  profound  impression  ever  since 
his  memorable  experience  in  the  Vatican  Council. 

Leo  received  him  in  farewell  audience  June  18.  Gib- 
bons' mission  had  been  concluded  under  the  happiest  aus- 
pices. The  general  lines  of  all  pending  readjustments 
of  ecclesiastical  conditions  in  the  Spanish  islands  had 
been  fixed  and  the  democratic  Pope  and  the  democratic 
Cardinal  were  alike  happy  over  the  outcome.  Leo  ex- 
pressed the  belief  that  it  was  the  last  time  he  would  see 
Gibbons,  upon  whose  counsel  and  vigorous  help  he  had 
leaned  so  often.  Gibbons,  with  whom  the  wish  was  per- 
haps father  to  the  thought,  was  led  to  believe  that  the 
great  commander  under  whom  he  had  fought  so  many 
battles  would  live  to  round  out  a  century. 

Gibbons  had  conducted  his  delicate  mission  in  Rome 
under  serious  obstacles  of  ill  health.  The  heat  of  the 
summer  in  the  Eternal  City  oppressed  him,  especially  as 
his  general  physical  condition  then  showed,  as  it  did  not 
infrequently,  signs  of  impairment.  As  usual,  after  a 
period  of  severe  exertions  in  Rome,  he  sought  recupera- 
tion in  a  leisurely  trip  homeward,  spending  a  few  days  in 
Florence  and  then  proceeding  on  his  journey  by  way  of 
France,  Belgium,  Holland,  England  and  Ireland.    When 


he  arrived  in  Paris  Paul  Bourget  was  moved  to  write  of 
him  in  Le  Figaro: 

"Cardinal  Gibbons  is  of  the  race  of  those  ascetics  in 
whom  it  seems  that  mortifications  may  have  left  only  as 
much  flesh  as  suffices  for  the  labors  of  the  soul." 

He  was  dismayed  by  the  impression  which  intimate 
touch  in  Paris  gave  him  of  church  legislation  by  the 
French  Chambers,  the  character  of  which  was  beginning 
to  cause  grave  concern.  Mentally  he  contrasted  it  with 
the  certainty  with  which  the  Church  had  been  able  to 
weather  every  difficulty  that  had  confronted  her  in 
America  and  with  the  outlook  for  a  continuation  of  the 
cordiality  and  mutual  sympathy  which  prevailed  be- 
tween the  leaders  of  Church  and  State  in  his  own 

After  a  visit  to  Cardinal  Vaughan  in  London,  where 
English  Catholics  were  eager  to  meet  and  greet  the  co- 
worker of  Maiming,  he  proceeded  to  Ireland.  As  the 
guest  of  the  Bishop  of  Cloyne,  addresses  from  Catholic 
societies  were  presented  to  him,  commenting  in  glowing 
terms  upon  the  advance  of  the  Catholic  faith  in  America 
during  recent  years.  Responding  to  these.  Gibbons  ex- 
pressed his  pleasure  in  testifying  to  the  great  share  which 
Irish  immigrants  had  borne  in  building  up  America's 
prosperity  and  the  devoted  sacrifices  of  the  hundreds  of 
Irish  priests  who  labored  among  the  American  people. 
Amelioratory  land  legislation  by  the  British  Government 
had  then  attained  some  progress  in  Ireland  and  he  ex- 
pressed the  hope  that  the  time  had  com.e  for  the  Irish 
to  remain  at  home,  where,  by  the  exercise  of  as  much 


industry  and  initiative  as  they  would  show  in  America, 
they  might  attain  prosperity  which  would  satisfy  their 

Sailing  from  Queenstown  August  18,  he  received  an 
enthusiastic  welcome  upon  his  arrival  in  New  York. 
He  summed  up  his  observations  abroad  by  remarking  that 
he  found  that  Americans  were  now  regarded  in  a  differ- 
ent light  by  Europeans.    He  said : 

"As  'nothing  succeeds  like  success,'  the  vigor  with 
which  we  carried  on  the  Spanish-American  War  and  the 
ease  with  which  we  gained  possession  of  the  Philippines 
and  Porto  Rico  have  caused  Europeans  to  regard  the 
United  States  as  a  world  power.  Certainly  we  are  more 
feared  than  formerly,  and  there  is  not  a  movement  made 
in  Europe  now  without  consideration  of  what  effect  it 
will  have  on  the  United  States.  I  will  not  say  that  our 
successes  will  contribute  to  our  happiness  as  a  nation, 
but  certainly  they  have  increased  our  power  and  prestige 
abroad.  But  a  few  years  ago,  the  United  States  was 
hardly  taken  into  account  at  all;  now,  we  are  regarded 
as  rivals  with  the  powers  of  Europe,  and  are  feared  by 
them,  politically  and  commercially." 

He  returned  to  Baltimore  August  25  and  again  re- 
ceived high  public  honors  among  the  mass  of  his  neigh- 
bors, who  esteemed  him,  perhaps,  more  for  the  simple 
and  homely  virtues  which  he  exhibited  in  his  daily  inter- 
course with  them  than  for  his  eminence  as  a  world  figure, 
the  reflected  light  of  which  conferred  fame  upon  their  city 
and  his.  An  overflowing  crowd  acclaimed  him  at  the 
railroad  station,  where  he  was  formally  received  by  the 
acting  Mayor,  Henry  Williams,  and  by  Charles  J.  Bona- 
parte on  behalf  of  the  Catholic  laity.    To  their  welcom- 


ing  speeches  he  responded  briefly,  saying  simply  from  the 
bottom  of  his  heart  that  there  was  no  country  so  dear 
to  him  as  America  and  no  place  so  dear  to  him  as  Balti- 

He  was  escorted  to  the  Cathedral  by  a  long  parade  of 
uniformed  members  of  Catholic  societies  and  others.  In 
that  noble  edifice  he  spoke  again  of  his  pleasure  in  re- 
turning, and  bestowed  the  Apostolic  benediction.  Stand- 
ing upon  the  front  steps  of  his  residence,  an  unfading 
picture  to  thousands  who  gazed  at  him,  he  reviewed  the 
parade.  It  was  characteristic  of  his  intense  piety  as 
well  as  an  example  to  his  priests  that  on  the  same  eve- 
ning, putting  aside  the  exactions  of  business  which  had 
accumulated  in  his  absence,  he  went  into  retreat  with 
the  clergy  of  his  diocese  for  five  days  at  St.  Mary's 

Gibbons  was  watchful  that  the  spiritual  mission  of  the 
priests  in  the  Spanish  islands  acquired  by  America  should 
not  be  interfered  with  in  any  manner,  any  more  than  the 
spiritual  mission  of  priests  in  the  United  States.  Roose- 
velt and  Gibbons,  and  later  Taft  and  Gibbons,  cooper- 
ated in  the  protection  of  the  rights  of  the  clergy  and 
members  of  religious  orders  in  the  Philippines,  Cuba  and 
Porto  Rico.  The  Cardinal's  journal  contains  these 
entries : 

*'April  19  [1904].  Received  a  cablegram  from 
Bishop  Hendrick  (of)  Cebu,  Philippines,  requesting  me 
to  ask  President  Roosevelt  to  protect  the  Church  there 

"20th.  The  President  has  replied  to  my  letter  of  in- 
quiry, saying  that  he  has  no  knowledge  of  the  cause  of 


the  complaint,  but  will  make  immediate  inquiries  and 
report  to  me." 

Another  instance  of  Roosevelt's  cooperation  is  reflected 
in  a  letter  which  the  Cardinal  wrote  to  Archbishop 
Aguis,  Apostolic  Delegate  to  the  Philippines.  The  let- 
ter read : 

"Baltimore,  March  5,  1906. 
"Your  Excellency  : 

"I  take  pleasure  in  sending  you  herewith  a  copy  of 
the  letter  which  President  Roosevelt  has  written  me  in 
reply  to  your  Excellency's  document,  which  I  forwarded 
to  him  immediately  on  its  receipt. 

"Your  Excellency  will  not  fail  to  note  the  favorable 
disposition  of  the  President  toward  the  matter  of  your 
representation.  I  am  much  pleased  with  the  reply,  and 
trust  your  Excellency  will  be  pleased  also. 

"With  sentiments  of  great  regard, 

"Yours  very  sincerely  in  Christ, 

"J.  Card.  Gibbons." 

At  a  later  period  he  felt  compelled  to  interpose  in  re- 
gard to  a  situation  in  Cuba  of  which  the  following  entries 
in  his  journal  give  an  account: 

"April  22  [1909].  The  Apostolic  Delegate  of  Cuba 
informed  the  Holy  See  of  a  threatened  persecution  of  the 
Church  in  that  Island  by  prohibiting  external  manifesta- 
tions of  religion  and  by  forbidding  foreign  clergymen  and 
nuns  from  officiating.  Through  the  Apostolic  Delegate 
at  Washington  I  was  requested  by  the  Holy  Father  to 
approach  the  civil  authorities  in  Washington  with  the 
view  of  soliciting  their  good  offices  in  behalf  of  the 
Church.  I  immediately  conferred  with  Mr.  Knox,  Secre- 
tary of  State,  and  with  President  Taft.  I  found  Mr. 
Knox  very  sympathetic  and  Mr.  Taft  was  eager  to  avert 


the  hostility  of  the  Cuban  authorities  without  officially 
showing  his  hand.  He  informed  me  that  he  was  send- 
ing a  fleet  to  the  Argentine  Republic  to  participate  in  its 
centenary,  bearing  Gen.  Leonard  Wood,  whom  the  Presi- 
dent would  instruct  to  stop  at  Havana  with  the  fleet  and 
have  a  conversation  with  President  Gomez  on  the  subject 
of  the  adverse  laws ;  General  Wood,  on  reaching  Havana, 
called  on  the  President  and  expostulated  with  him  on  the 
reported  impending  legislation.  Gomez  gave  the  Gen- 
eral his  assurance  that  he  would  exercise  his  influence 
against  the  proposed  laws  and  expressed  his  conviction 
that  they  would  not  be  passed.  Mr.  Taft  kindly  wrote 
to  me,  inclosing  General  Wood's  letter. 

"29.  Senor  Eliseo  Giberga,  a  representative  from  the 
President  of  Cuba  to  the  dedication  festivities  of  the 
Temple  of  Peace  at  W^ashington,  and  General  Carlos 
Garcia  Velez,  Cuban  Minister  to  Washington,  called  on 
me  by  request  of  President  Taft  to  inform  me  that  in  the 
judgment  of  President  Gomez,  the  threatened  legislation 
would  never  be  declared ;  that,  though  it  should  pass  the 
lower  House,  it  would  probably  be  defeated  in  the  upper 
House,  and  even  if  it  should  pass  the  upper  House,  it 
would  certainly  be  vetoed  by  the  President. 

"June  20.  Received  from  Cardinal  Merry  del  Val 
a  grateful  acknowledgment  on  the  part  of  the  Holy  Fa- 
ther for  my  services  in  the  Cuban  affair." 

The  uniform  cooperation  from  the  American  authori- 
ties which  he  received  in  steps  taken  for  the  protection 
of  priests  wherever  the  flag  floated  furnished  him  with 
new  arguments  to  present  to  Rome  whenever  the  ques- 
tion of  the  Church's  safety  in  America  was  discussed  by 
European  ecclesiastics  who  lacked  direct  knowledge  of 
the  practical  operations  of  the  system  here  which  Gib- 
bons so  warmly  defended. 


When  the  Catholic  world — indeed,  men  everywhere 
who  honored  preeminent  goodness  and  greatness  com- 
bined in  one  person — prepared  in  1903  to  give  expres- 
sion to  the  rejoicing  that  Leo  XIII  had  been  spared  to 
reign  twenty-five  years,  it  is  safe  to  say  that  no  one,  how- 
ever exalted  or  however  humble  his  station  in  the  Church, 
contemplated  the  coming  event  with  feelings  that  more 
deeply  stirred  the  soul  than  Gibbons.  It  seemed  that 
these  two  men,  whom  Archbishop  Ireland  had  linked  in 
a  phrase  as  the  "providential  Pope"  and  the  "providen- 
tial Archbishop,"  had  been  raised  up  together  to  share  in 
many  things  in  which  neither  could  have  attained  his 
full  purposes  without  the  other.  Leo  leaned  upon  the 
judgment  of  Gibbons.  Gibbons  regarded  the  support  of 
Leo  as  the  most  powerful  influence  on  earth  in  giving  ef- 
fect to  his  own  aspirations  for  Church  and  country.  But 
the  bond  between  them  was  more  than  a  bond  of  con- 
current judgment,  more  than  a  bond  of  concurrent  striv- 
ing; it  was  one  of  full  mutual  confidence,  of  full  mutual 
reliance,  of  an  intensity  of  personal  affection  attainable 
only  by  souls  that  ranged  far  above  the  commonplace. 
The  brilliant  success  of  one  was  the  joy  of  the  other. 

These  two  captains  of  the  Church  seemed  to  have  been 
cast  in  the  same  mold,  even  (at  least  to  some  extent) 



physically;  and  there  was  a  strange  parallel  in  their 
careers.  Both  appeared  frail  and  were  obstructed  in 
some  of  their  greatest  undertakings  by  lapses  of  health, 
but  both  survived  to  ages  given  to  few  men — Leo  to 
ninety-three  and  Gibbons  to  eighty-six.  The  resemblance 
between  them  in  face  and  form  was  unmistakable.  The 
type  was  precisely  the  same — the  slendemess,  grace, 
alertness  combined  with  benignity,  the  general  cast  of 
delicately  molded  features,  the  appearance  at  times  al- 
most of  a  saintliness  beyond  this  earth,  to  which  the  fra- 
gility of  their  frames  lent  an  added  touch  of  similitude. 

Both  were  natural  leaders,  born  to  high  command, 
exercising  control  in  the  largest  fields  with  greater  ease 
and  poise  perhaps  even  than  in  smaller  ones,  attracting 
to  themselves  the  devoted  zeal  of  a  multitude  of  fol- 
lowers ;  men  who  led  but  did  not  drive,  vibrant  with  per- 
sonal force  that  communicated  itself  instantly  to  those 
with  whom  they  came  in  contact,  small  or  large  in  num- 

Their  mental  conceptions  seemed  to  proceed  from  the 
same  outlook.  Leo  swept  the  world  with  a  scrutiny 
reaching  beyond  the  visible  present  into  the  invisible 
future.  The  same  gift  belonged  to  Gibbons.  While  their 
programs  were  so  far  in  advance  of  what  men  of  narrow 
vision  could  conceive  that  they  sometimes  appeared  im- 
practical for  a  limited  time,  their  long  lives  brought  full 
vindication  of  their  judgment  in  every  important  aspect. 

To  Leo  and  Gibbons  it  was  a  changing  world;  a  proc- 
ess of  rapid  evolution  was  astir.  They  lived  in  times 
that  forecast  other  times.  The  Church  must  not  wait 
for  the  pressure  of  events  to  direct  her,  but  must  antici- 


pate  those  events  and  be  a  forerunner  of  the  world's 

This  applied  mainly  to  the  spiritual,  but  in  the  minds 
of  these  two  the  spiritual  and  the  material  welfare  of 
men  were  closely  linked.  While  they  preached,  they 
wished  also  to  feed  the  hungry  multitude  with  the  loaves 
and  fishes.  Men  were  breaking  some  of  their  political 
bonds,  and  they  would  soon  break  more.  As  Leo  and 
Gibbons  saw,  the  Church  had  been  the  friend  of  liberty, 
was  a  friend  of  liberty  in  their  time  and  was  preparing 
the  way  for  a  larger  liberty  in  the  future.  It  was  a 
Christian  liberty  which  eased  men's  shoulders  from  the 
burden  and  delivered  their  hands  from  making  the  pots, 
but  it  was  also  a  liberty  which  must  be  prevented  from 
losing  its  steady,  saving  force  through  violent  extremes. 

While,  in  the  minds  of  both,  the  kingdom  of  the 
Church  must  be  established  in  the  hearts  and  consciences 
of  men,  Leo  relaxed  no  claim  of  the  temporal  power, 
being  convinced  as  firmly  as  any  one  who  ever  sat  in  the 
chair  of  Peter  that  the  independence  of  the  Papacy  was 
necessary  for  the  unity  of  the  faith.  As  nuncio  at  Brus- 
sels, he  had  learned  that  relations  with  governments  were 
necessary  to  the  Church  in  some  countries  and  at  some 
times ;  but  he  repudiated  as  abhorrent  in  one  of  his  ency- 
clicals the  theory  that  the  Church  sought,  or  should 
seek,  to  be  the  master  of  the  State. 

Both  Leo  and  Gibbons  had  formulated  all  of  their 
greater  ideas  before  either  of  them  knew  the  other's  mind. 
When  the  fortune  of  ecclesiastical  preferment  threw  them 
in  close  contact,  each  rejoiced  to  find  in  the  other  a  re- 
flection of  himself.     Gibbons  had  no  wish  to  take  any 


active  steps  for  the  extension  in  practise  beyond  America 
of  his  own  views  as  to  civil  relations.  He  felt  that  he 
was  an  American  churchman  with  a  mission  to  America, 
and  that  satisfied  him  abundantly;  but  in  the  march  of 
events  he  became  a  world  figure. 

The  Church,  the  Bishop,  the  priest,  the  layman  in 
America  he  wished  to  be  American  in  sympathy;  to  him 
the  bond  of  confidence  and  intimate  similarity  between 
them  and  their  country  showed  the  way  to  the  progress 
of  religion.  While  no  particular  type  of  nationality  was 
necessary  in  a  priest  to  enable  him  to  perform  the  func- 
tions of  universal  love  and  service  which  are  embraced 
within  the  Christian  faith,  the  door  of  approach  to  the 
people  would  be  opened  wider  if  priests  and  parishioners 
were  one  in  all  the  essential  human  traits  and  habits  of 
thought.  In  America,  no  less  than  England,  the  num- 
ber of  priests  of  foreign  birth  in  Gibbons'  early  years, 
and  the  century  which  had  preceded  those  years,  had  been 
large  from  a  cause  of  which  he  was  well  aware — the  lack 
of  facilities  for  training  them  in  their  own  country.  So 
far  as  America  was  concerned  this  had  been  due  to  the 
sparseness  of  the  Catholic  population  in  the  English 
element  which  made  up  the  overwhelming  majority  of  the 
colonists  who  established  their  independence  in  1776, 
as  well  as  to  the  restrictive  laws  which  grievously  bur- 
dened Catholics  in  a  number  of  those  colonies  while  under 
British  rule. 

Both  opportunity  and  material  means  were  lacking  for 
the  establishment  of  seminaries  in  which  to  train  priests 
during  the  first  half  century  of  independence,  but  now  a 
marvel  had  been  wrought.     The  comparatively  small 


band  of  Catholics  who  had  unanimously  rallied  to  the 
cause  of  Washington  had  expanded  into  a  multitude  of 
millions,  whose  aggregate  wealth  was  amply  sufficient  to 
provide  for  all  the  necessary  operations  of  the  Church 
in  the  United  States.  Now  American  democracy  could 
be  exemplified  by  American  Catholic  priests  to  the 
American  people  as  never  before.  Gibbons  wished  the 
proportion  of  these  exemplars  to  be  swelled  to  the  ut- 
most extent  possible,  and  the  evidence  of  the  results  of 
his  efforts  in  that  direction  became  overwhelming. 

America  was  free,  and  it  was  not  simply  a  political 
freedom  as  Gibbons  saw  it.  It  was  a  freedom  for  every 
reasonable  aspiration  in  men.  There  must  be  economic 
freedom — hence  he  fought  for  the  rights  of  labor.  There 
must  be  social  freedom — hence  he  strove  for  changes  that 
would  loosen  unreasonable  social  restrictions  imposed 
upon  the  mass.  To  preserve  this  freedom,  to  multiply  its 
heritage,  there  must  be  incessant  vigilance  against  inroads 
by  extremists.  The  Church,  it  appeared  to  him,  must 
teach  and  preach  by  example  even  more  than  by  precept. 

Here,  he  felt,  the  road  to  the  hearts  of  men  was  far 
more  widely  open  than  in  the  countries  of  Europe.  He 
wished  to  take  that  road  and  rejoiced  that  the  way  was 
clear  and  free. 

The  parallel  between  Leo  and  Gibbons  had  been  pre- 
served even  in  their  elevation  to  the  highest  offices  which 
they  filled.  Leo  had  been  raised  to  the  Papacy  in  Feb- 
ruary, 1878,  and  in  the  same  month  the  pallium  had  been 
placed  upon  the  shoulders  of  Gibbons  as  Archbishop  of 
Baltimore.  On  the  threshold  of  his  major  career.  Gib- 
bons had  shared  the  general  expectation  that  the  new 


Pope  with  whom  he  was  to  labor  concurrently  would  not 
survive  for  many  years;  for  the  principal  argument  used 
against  the  selection  of  Cardinal  Pecci  in  the  conclave 
had  been  his  age,  then  sixty-eight  years.  The  reign  of 
Pius  IX,  thirty-two  years  in  duration,  had  accustomed 
churchmen  to  look  for  the  benefits  that  accrued  from  pro- 
longed tenure  in  the  supreme  Pontificate,  with  the  uni- 
formity of  aims  and  methods  that  it  brings  and  its  orderly 
evolution  of  policies  which  require  much  time  for  frui- 
tion. Though  the  reign  of  the  predecessor  of  Leo  was 
the  longest  in  the  history  of  the  Papacy,  he  did  not  fall 
far  short  of  equaling  it. 

Leo  had  celebrated  the  golden  jubilee  of  his  episcopate 
in  1893,  when  Gibbons  had  shared  to  the  full  in  the 
felicitations  which  were  conveyed  to  him  by  prelates 
throughout  the  world.  The  American  Cardinal's  friend. 
President  Cleveland,  who  had  recently  been  inaugurated 
for  a  second  term,  joined  with  the  executives  of  other 
nations  in  expressing  grateful  recognition  of  Leo's  serv- 
ices to  humanity.  Through  Gibbons,  he  sent  to  the  Pon- 
tiff as  a  present  one  of  an  edition  of  twenty  copies  con- 
taining the  official  papers  and  documents  written  by  him 
during  his  first  term  in  the  presidency.  His  congratula- 
tions were  conveyed  in  the  following  letter  ^  to  Gibbons : 

"Executive  Mansion, 

"Washington,  June  9,  1893. 
*'To  His  Eminence  Cardinal  Gibbons^ 
"Your  Eminence: 

"Please  permit  me  to  transmit  through  you  to  his  Holi- 
ness, Leo  XIII,  my  sincere  congratulations  on  the  occa- 
sion of  the  Golden  Jubilee  of  his  Episcopate. 

*  Cathedral  Archives,  Baltimore. 


"The  pleasure  attending  this  expression  of  my  felici- 
tations is  much  enhanced  by  the  remembrance  that  his 
Holiness  has  always  manifested  a  lively  interest  in  the 
prosperity  of  the  United  States  and  great  admiration  for 
our  political  institutions.  I  am  glad  to  believe  that  these 
sentiments  are  the  natural  outgrowth  of  the  Holy 
Father's  solicitude  for  the  welfare  and  happiness  of  the 
masses  of  humanity,  and  his  special  sympathy  for  every 
effort  made  to  dignify  simple  manhood  and  to  promote 
the  social  and  moral  betterment  of  those  who  toil. 

"The  kindness  with  which  his  Holiness  lately  accepted 
a  copy  of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  leads  me 
to  suggest  that — if  it  does  not  seem  presumption — it 
would  please  me  exceedingly  to  place  in  his  hands  a 
book  containing  the  official  papers  and  documents  writ- 
ten by  me  during  my  previous  term  of  office. 
"Yours  very  sincerely, 

"Grover  Cleveland." 

Gibbons  expressed  his  cordial  appreciation  of  the 
President's  thoughtfulness,  and  in  due  time  the  volume 
was  prepared  and  forwarded  to  him.  He  acknowledged 
it  in  this  letter : 

"Cardinal's  Residence 

"408  N.  Charles  St., 

"Baltimore,  Md. 

"September  20,  1893. 
"My  dear  Mr.  Cleveland: 

"On  returning  home  today  from  Chicago,  I  found  the 
valuable  volume  containing  your  State  papers  awaiting 
my  return.  I  shall  forward  the  volume  as  soon  as  possible 
to  Rome,  and  I  assure  you  that  there  are  few  gifts  which 
the  Holy  Father  will  receive  with  more  satisfaction  than 
yours.  .  .  . 

"I  avail  myself  of  this  occasion  by  joyfully  tendering 


to  Mrs.  Cleveland  and  yourself  my  hearty  congratula- 
tions on  the  choice  blessing  which  God  has  bestowed  upon 
you  both  in  the  person  of  a  new  daughter,  the  first  child, 
I  am  told,  ever  born  to  a  President  during  his  incum- 
bency of  the  presidential  office.  May  this  young  queen 
be  a  source  of  unalloyed  joy  and  consolation  to  her 

"Faithfully  yrs.  in  Christ, 

"J.  Card.  Gibbons." 

With  the  approach  of  Leo's  silver  jubilee  as  Pope,  Gib- 
bons wrote  to  him  a  fervent  letter  in  the  name  of  the 
American  Bishops  upon  the  anniversary.  He  expressed 
joy  that  Leo  in  his  long  reign  had  given  signal  proofs  of 
his  interest  in  the  Church  in  America.  Among  these 
proofs  he  enumerated  the  convoking  of  the  Third  Plen- 
ary Council  of  Baltimore,  which  had  framed  for  the 
Church  here  a  stable  and  comprehensive  constitution  that 
had  served  to  prepare  her  for  her  marvelous  advance;  the 
Papal  support  of  and  interest  in  the  Catholic  University 
at  Washington,  which  had  made  possible  the  develop- 
ment of  that  great  project  far  even  beyond  the  hopes  of 
those  who  had  cherished  it  in  its  beginnings;  and  Leo's 
special  letter  of  congratulation  on  the  centennial  of  the 
American  Hierarchy,  in  which  he  had  crowned  with  the 
Pontifical  commendation  the  program  for  the  expansion 
of  the  Church  here  which  the  Bishops  were  then  begin- 
ning to  carry  out.  To  Leo  he  gave  his  fullest  loyalty  as 
the  apex  and  center  of  Catholic  teaching  and  of  the 
priesthood,  the  representative  of  that  unity  which  Christ 
destined  for  His  Church.^ 

•Letter  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  to  Leo  XIII,  March  3,  1902. 


In  the  following  month  the  Pope  responded  with  an 
encyclical  addressed  to  Gibbons  and  the  American 
Bishops,  in  which  he  recorded  his  deepest  gratitude  for 
their  continuous  support  during  his  Pontificate,  as  well  as 
for  the  development  of  religion  in  the  United  States.  He 
wrote : 

"Certainly  we  have  reason  to  rejoice,  and  the  Catholic 
world,  on  account  of  its  reverence  for  the  Apostolic  See, 
has  reason  to  rejoice  at  the  extraordinary  fact  that  we 
are  to  be  reckoned  as  the  third  in  the  long  line  of  Roman 
Pontiffs  to  whom  it  has  been  happily  given  to  enter  upon 
the  twenty-fifth  year  of  the  supreme  priesthood.  But  in 
this  circle  of  congratulations,  while  the  voices  of  all  are 
welcome  to  us,  that  of  the  Bishops  and  faithful  of  the 
United  States  of  North  America  brings  us  special  joy, 
both  on  account  of  the  conditions  which  give  your  coun- 
try prominence  over  many  others,  and  of  the  special  love 
we  entertain  for  you. 

"You  have  been  pleased,  beloved  son  and  venerable 
brothers,  in  your  joint  letter  to  us,  to  mention  in  detail 
what,  prompted  by  love  for  you,  we  have  done  for  your 
churches  during  the  course  of  our  pontificate.  We,  on 
the  other  hand,  are  glad  to  call  to  mind  the  many  dif- 
ferent ways  in  which  you  have  ministered  to  our  consola- 
tion throughout  this  period.  If  we  found  pleasure  in  the 
state  of  things  which  prevailed  among  you  when  we  first 
entered  upon  the  charge  of  the  supreme  apostolate,  now 
that  we  have  advanced  beyond  twenty-four  years  in  the 
same  charge,  we  are  constrained  to  confess  that  our  first 
pleasure  has  never  been  diminished,  but,  on  the  contrary, 
has  increased  from  day  to  day  by  reason  of  the  increase 
of  Catholicity  iamong  you. 

"The  cause  of  this  increase,  although  first  of  all  to  be 
attributed  to  the  providence  of  God,  must  also  be  ascribed 


both  to  your  energy  and  activity.  You  have,  in  your 
prudent  policy,  promoted  every  kind  of  Catholic  organi- 
zation with  such  wisdom  as  to  provide  for  all  necessities 
and  all  contingencies  in  harmony  with  the  remarkable 
character  of  the  people  of  your  country. 

"We  have  gladly  availed  ourselves  of  every  oppor- 
tunity to  testify  to  the  constancy  of  our  solicitude  for  you 
and  for  the  interests  of  religion  among  you.  And  our 
daily  experience  obliges  us  to  confess  that  we  have  found 
your  people,  through  your  influence,  endowed  with  per- 
fect docility  of  mind  and  alacrity  of  disposition.  There- 
fore, while  the  changes  and  tendencies  of  nearly  all  the 
nations  which  were  Catholic  for  many  centuries  give 
cause  for  sorrow,  the  state  of  your  churches  in  their  flour- 
ishing youthfulness  cheers  our  heart  and  fills  it  with  de- 
light. True,  you  are  shown  no  special  favor  by  the  law 
of  the  land,  but,  on  the  other  hand,  your  law-givers  are 
certainly  entitled  to  praise  for  the  fact  that  they  do 
nothing  to  restrain  you  in  your  just  liberty."  ^ 

Leo  proceeded  to  express  his  satisfaction  with  the 
methods  which  the  Church  had  adopted  for  carrying  her 
appeal  among  Protestants.  He  highly  commended  the 
missions  in  behalf  of  the  Indians,  in  which  Gibbons  had 
been  particularly  active,  and  those  of  the  priests  and 
teachers  who  had  been  sent  to  assist  the  negro  popula- 
tion in  its  struggle  upward.  Gibbons  ordered  a  triduum 
April  3  in  honor  of  the  jubilee. 

The  mind  of  Leo,  which  had  glowed  so  long  like  a 
brilliant  torch,  could  not  burn  forever,  and  the  worn, 
body,  almost  transparent  in  its  frailty,  must  yield  in  time 
to  the  weakness  of  the  flesh.  Soon  after  the  jubilee  his 
last  illness,  pneumonia,  fell  upon  him.  Often  before  the 
'Encyclical,  April   15,   190a. 


whisper  that  the  Pope  had  been  taken  ill  had  passed 
around  the  Vatican;  but  this  time  it  was  not  long  before 
his  physicians  and  household  saw  that  hopes  of  his  re- 
covery were  vain.  Their  efforts  were  directed  toward 
prolonging  his  life  by  the  devices  of  medical  science. 

When  it  appeared  that  death  was  inevitable,  Gibbons 
was  promptly  advised  from  Rome.  No  American  up  to 
that  time  had  taken  part  in  the  election  of  a  Pope.  Car- 
dinal McCloskey  had  been  a  member  of  the  Sacred  Col- 
lege at  the  death  of  Pius  IX,  and  had  sailed  for  Rome 
to  vote  in  the  conclave;  but  he  had  proceeded  only  as 
far  as  Paris  when  he  was  notified  that  the  new  Pontiff 
had  already  been  elected.  Travel  to  Europe  had  be- 
come more  rapid  now,  and  Gibbons  resolved  that  physi- 
cal obstacles  should  not  prevent  his  participation  with 
his  brother  Cardinals  in  the  great  function  that  was 
before  them. 

If  Gibbons  had  waited  until  the  Pope's  death  to  start, 
it  would  have  been  impossible,  perhaps,  for  him  to  reach 
Rome  in  time,  as  the  conclave  was  to  begin  on  the  tenth 
day  after  death.  For  several  days  before  the  final  mes- 
sage from  Rome  caused  him  to  decide  to  set  out,  accom- 
modations were  secured  for  him  provisionally  on  every 
steamship  that  sailed  from  New  York.  He  was  kept 
informed  of  the  movements  of  ships  and  other  details 
regarding  the  prospects  of  his  trip  until  midnight  on 
those  days. 

It  was  eleven  o'clock  Wednesday  morning,  July  8, 
1893,  when  Gibbons  received  in  a  cable  dispatch  from 
Cardinal  Rampolla  the  information  that  the  Pope's 
death  was  certain.    Not  a  moment  was  lost.    The  Rev. 


P.  C.  Gavan,  chancellor  of  the  archdiocese  of  Baltimore, 
whom  he  had  selected  to  accompany  him  as  conclavist, 
was  sitting  at  his  desk  in  the  archiepiscopal  residence 
when  Gibbons  entered  the  room  and  said  simply:  "Come 
along,  sir.'* 

Down  went  the  desk  with  a  bang,  for  the  priest  knew 
the  Cardinal's  mood  and  was  ready  to  fall  in  with  it. 
The  letter  which  he  had  been  writing  was  left  unfin- 
ished. When  he  returned  from  Rome,  it  was  still  there; 
but  he  had  met  abroad  the  one  for  whom  it  was  intended. 
Gibbons  and  Gavan  hurried  to  the  ofRce  of  a  steamship 
agent  with  whom  they  had  been  in  communication,  ob- 
tained their  tickets,  and  returned  home  for  hasty  and 
final  packing.  After  a  hurried  dinner  they  boarded  the 
train  at  one  o'clock  for  New  York.  They  found  their 
apartments  ready  on  the  vessel  which  was  to  bear  them 
across  the  Atlantic,  despite  the  fact  that  the  tide  of  Euro- 
pean travel  was  then  at  its  height  for  the  season,  and  ac- 
commodations on  fast  ocean  ships  could  usually  be  ob- 
tained only  by  waiting  for  months. 

More  than  a  week  passed,  but  still  Leo  lived.  The 
world  had  become  so  accustomed  to  the  marvel  of  his 
vitality  that  it  was  not  surprised.  At  last  all  human 
resources  failed,  and  on  July  20  he  expired. 

Gibbons  was  then  in  Paris.  His  presence  in  Rome  was 
not  immediately  necessary,  and  he  proceeded  to  Lucerne, 
where  he  spent  several  days.  In  that  city  United  States 
Senator  Elkins,  of  West  Virginia,  showed  him  especial 
honor.  He  also  met  Senator  Depew  of  New  York  and 
him  who  was  to  be  Depew's  successor,  the  then  Justice 
O' Gorman. 


On  Sunday  morning,  July  26,  he  arrived  in  Rome, 
and  took  up  his  quarters  at  the  Procura  of  St.  Sulpice, 
where  there  were  also  four  French  Cardinals — Richard  of 
Paris,  Perraud  of  Autun,  Lecot  of  Bordeaux  and  Coullie 
of  Lyons.  Sixty-one  other  Cardinals  had  arrived  in  the 
city — the  entire  membership  of  the  Sacred  College  at 
that  time,  except  Moran  of  Australia,  and  the  Cardinal 
of  Palermo,  who  was  kept  at  home  by  illness. 

Rome  was  not  lacking  in  special  interest  in  the  un- 
precedented circumstance  of  the  arrival  of  an  American 
Cardinal  to  take  part  in  the  election  of  a  Pope.  One 
newspaper  printed  an  account  of  his  career,  the  first  part 
of  which  was  a  word  picture  of  America,  represented 
as  young,  strong,  ardent,  impatient  of  restraint,  bold 
and  successful.  The  article  proceeded  to  declare  that 
Gibbons  possessed  these  qualifications  in  an  eminent  de- 
gree. As  the  writer,  with  a  leap  of  the  imagination, 
forecast  the  conclave.  Gibbons  would  rush  matters  from 
the  beginning,  would  brook  no  delays,  and  would  bring 
the  proceedings  to  a  speedy  end  even  if  the  hallowed 
traditions  of  centuries  were  dragged  in  the  dust. 

The  next  morning  the  secretary  of  one  of  the  Cardinals, 
whose  See  was  on  the  shore  of  the  Adriatic,  said  to  Father 
Gavan : 

"Who  is  your  Cardinal?' 

"Cardinal  Gibbons — the  American  Cardinal,"  replied 
the  priest. 

"What,  the  terrible  American  I"  was  the  startled  reply. 
"Show  him  to  me  when  he  comes  out." 

When  Gibbons  appeared  the  young  secretary  looked 
disappointed  and  exclaimed : 


"Why,  he  is  just  as  cultivated,  refined  and  intellectual 
as  one  of  our  own  Italian  cardinals." 

The  conclave  did  not  assemble  until  the  Friday  evening 
following  Gibbons'  arrival.  In  the  meanwhile  there  were 
services  in  the  Sistine  Chapel  every  morning,  after  which 
the  Cardinals  gathered  in  the  halls  of  the  Vatican  and  at- 
tended to  the  business  of  the  Church,  as  is  their  custom 
when  the  Papacy  is  vacant.  For  the  time  being  they 
were  all  sovereigns,  sharing  equally  in  deciding  the  ques- 
tions which  came  before  them.  The  camerlengo.  Car- 
dinal Oreglia,  the  only  member  of  the  conclave  who  had 
been  elevated  before  the  reign  of  Leo,  presided.  Busi- 
ness to  be  transacted  was  presented  by  Monsignor  Merry 
del  Val,  secretary  of  the  conclave,  who  was  not  then  a 
Cardinal,  but  was  soon  to  succeed  to  that  dignity  and  to 
the  Papal  secretaryship  of  state. 

About  six  o'clock  Friday  evening  the  electors  entered 
the  conclave  and  drew  lots  for  the  apartments  in  the 
Vatican  which  they  were  to  occupy.  Gibbons  received  as 
his  quarters  two  rooms  which  had  been  used  as  offices,  near 
the  entrance  to  a  staircase  leading  to  the  apartments  lately 
occupied  by  Leo.  One  room  was  for  the  Cardinal  him- 
self, the  other  for  his  conclavist.  They  were  small  and 
scantily  furnished,  the  room  of  Gibbons  containing  an  old 
iron  bedstead,  one  armchair,  two  smaller  chairs  with 
rush  bottoms,  a  table  and  an  iron  washstand.  Their 
meals  were  served  by  a  domestic  servant  who  occupied 
quarters  in  another  part  of  the  building. 

Leo's  own  hand  had  framed  the  regulations  under 
which  his  successor  was  elected.  He  had  been  camer- 
lengo at  the  death  of  Pius  IX,  and  had  been  impressed 


to  set  down,  for  the  benefit  of  posterity,  the  fruit  of  his 
experience  in  the  conclave  that  ensued.  There  are  elab- 
orate regulations  for  the  choice  of  a  Pope,  for  the  Church 
devotes  supreme  effort  to  establishing  safeguards  for 
preventing  human  interposition  against  the  will  of  Divine 
Providence  in  such  gatherings.  From  historical  experi- 
ence she  has  designated  precise  forms  to  protect  the  se- 
crecy and  fairness  of  the  election.  Leo  revised  the  previ- 
ously existing  regulations  to  some  extent,  writing  the 
rules  carefully  in  a  book,  which  he  ordered  to  be  pre- 
served for  the  exigency  that  would  follow  his  own  death. 

The  main  precautions  which  the  wisdom  of  centuries 
has  shown  to  be  desirable  were  retained  without  essential 
change.  While  in  the  conclave  the  Cardinals  are  virtually 
prisoners.  They  are,  in  some  respects,  like  a  civil  jury, 
locked  up  to  deliberate  upon  a  case  of  momentous  grav- 
ity, though  far  more  care  is  taken  to  bring  about  the  best 
decision  on  their  part,  and  the  dignity  and  solemnity  which 
surround  them  and  their  function  are  infinitely  greater. 

The  requirement  of  rigorous  seclusion  was  emphasized 
by  a  decree  of  Gregory  X  in  the  year  1274  a.  d.  after  he 
had  been  elected  by  a  conclave  which  drew  out  its  ses- 
sions more  than  three  years.  This  was  the  conclave  of 
Viterbo,  which  assembled  upon  the  death  of  Clement  IV. 
After  an  interregnum  of  two  years  and  nine  months  had 
elapsed,  the  seventeen  Cardinals  who  were  voting  were 
shut  up  in  the  Papal  palace  with  no  food  but  bread  and 
no  drink  but  water.  As  the  decision  did  not  seem  to  be 
hastened,  Charles  of  Anjou  went  further  and  took  off 
part  of  the  palace  roof,  in  order  that  the  unchecked  ele- 
ments of  nature  might  operate  in  forcing  the  electors  to 


complete  their  task;  but  even  after  that  ordeal  of  physi- 
cal hardship  was  imposed  upon  them,  six  months  passed 
before  they  united  in  choosing  Gregory.  Time  has  some- 
what modified  the  severe  discipline  in  regard  to  conclaves 
imposed  by  him  and  succeeding  Pontiffs  in  the  Middle 
Ages;  but  there  has  not  been  the  slightest  departure  from 
the  principles  of  seclusion  and  secrecy. 

Every  step  of  the  solemn  process  impressed  the  keenly 
imaginative  mind  of  Gibbons,  as  his  experience  in  the 
majesty  of  the  Vatican  Council,  the  first  ecumenical  gath- 
ering of  the  Church  in  three  hundred  years,  had  im- 
pressed him  a  third  of  a  century  before.  It  is  impossible 
for  a  man  of  sensitive  perceptions  to  pass  through  such 
scenes  without  being  almost  overwhelmed  by  the  weight 
of  the  message  which  they  bear  from  the  early  days  of 
Christianity,  when  strong  and  devoted  fathers  of  the 
Church  kept  alive  the  fire  of  faith  amid  the  utmost  dis- 
tractions that  afl3icted  men  and  nations.  Through  all  of 
the  trials  no  fraction  of  doctrine  was  surrendered;  no 
rule  of  discipline  was  permanently  modified  against  the 
impartial  judgment  of  the  Church. 

In  the  presence  of  evidence,  that  swept  the  senses,  of 
the  rising  and  falling  of  kingdoms  and  of  men  while  the 
faith  alone  endured,  the  American  Cardinal  was  thrilled, 
but  he  did  not  lose  his  poise.  At  the  Vatican  council,  as 
the  youngest  of  twelve  hundred  Bishops,  he  had  felt 
obliged  to  preserve  a  "discreet  silence,"  as  he  wrote, 
though  he  formed  definite  opinions  upon  every  subject 
that  came  up,  and  acted  in  accordance  with  them.  Now 
he  was  a  Cardinal  of  nineteen  years'  service.  Was  he  to 
be  a  leader  or  a  follower?    Men  like  himself  must  bear 


the  responsibility  of  the  all-important  decision  about  to 
be  made.  Must  he  relapse  into  diffidence  because  he  was 
the  first  American  to  sit  in  a  Papal  conclave^  Would 
the  novelty  of  his  role,  all  the  more  striking  to  him  as  he 
lived  and  moved  for  the  time  being  amid  the  traditions 
of  centuries,  subdue  his  voice"?  His  mental  answer  was 
"no!"  Though  the  mass  of  these  traditions  had  been 
born  while  America  was  still  a  wilderness,  he  spoke  now 
for  15,000,000  Catholics,  and  as  their  representative  he 
would  not  fail  to  do  his  part. 

As  always  under  trying  circumstances,  a  buoyant  cheer- 
fulness sustained  him.  When  Cardinal  Oreglia,  as  the 
time  for  secluding  the  electors  arrived,  passed  along  the 
corridors  where  they  were  lodged,  preceded  by  a  master 
of  ceremonies,  crying  ''Extra  omnesr  Gibbons  remarked: 
"Just  think  of  my  being  locked  up  and  my  liberty  cur- 
tailed at  my  time  of  life !" 

A  ballot  was  taken  every  morning  while  the  conclave 
was  in  progress.  The  master  of  ceremonies  passed  the 
apartments  of  the  electors,  summoning  them  with  the 
formula  ''In  capellam^  'Domini'^  They  proceeded  to  the 
Sistine  Chapel,  where  they  took  the  seats  allotted  to  them, 
over  each  of  which  was  a  canopy  indicating  the  sovereign 
dignity  which  they  possessed  for  the  time  being.  The 
subdean  celebrated  low  Mass,  and  the  voting  began. 

Three  Cardinals  {scrutatores)  were  chosen  by  lot  each 
time  to  preside  over  the  voting;  three  (revisores)  to  veri- 
fy the  count,  and  three  (infirmaru)  to  collect  the  ballots 
of  the  sick.  Each  elector  received  a  sckedula,  or  voting 
paper.  The  ballots  were  folded  thrice.  On  the  top  of 
the  form  were  printed  the  words,  "Ego  cardinalis"  and 


there  the  elector  wrote  his  name.  On  the  middle  were 
the  words,  "Eligo  in  summum  Fontificem  Rm.  Dm. 
meum  D.  Card."  (I  elect  for  Sovereign  Pontiff  my  most 
Reverend  Lord  Cardinal ) .  The  name  of  the  can- 
didate for  whom  the  elector  wished  to  vote  was  written 
here.  At  the  bottom  of  the  ballot,  which  was  left  empty, 
the  elector  inscribed  a  device,  which  was  not  infrequently 
a  text  of  Scripture  or  a  prayer.  The  top  and  bottom  of 
the  ballot  were  then  folded  together,  the  bottom  being 
over  the  top,  and  were  secured  by  a  seal,  which  did  not 
betray  the  elector's  identity. 

Two  designs  were  engraved  on  the  reverse  side.  The 
word  "Nomen"  was  printed  on  the  top  one,  meaning  that 
under  it  on  the  obverse  side  would  be  found  the  name  of 
the  voter.  The  word  "Signa"  was  on  the  lower,  indicat- 
ing that  on  the  obverse  would  be  found  the  voter's  device. 
These  designs  prevented  the  writing  from  being  read 
through  the  paper. 

On  the  altar  stood  a  chalice,  in  which  the  Cardinals, 
advancing,  deposited  their  ballots,  one  by  one  in  due  or- 
der. Each  kneeling,  pronounced  in  Latin  these  words:  'T 
call  Christ  our  Lord,  Who  will  judge  me,  to  witness  that  I 
elect  the  person  who,  before  God,  I  think  should  be  elected, 
and  which  I  shall  make  good  in  the  vote  of  accession."  * 

*  The  vote  of  accession  represents  a  second  step,  but  by  decision  of 
the  Cardinals  it  was  dispensed  with  in  1903.  It  is  seldom  that  a  can- 
didate receives  the  required  two-thirds  majority  on  the  first  ballot.  If 
no  candidate  has  received  two-thirds,  and  the  vote  of  accession  is  to 
be  taken,  a  second  ballot  begins  immediately.  Each  of  the  electors  now 
marks  his  vote  with  the  same  device  and  number  as  before  but  in  the 
middle  part  of  the  voting  paper  the  words  are  altered  to  read:  "Accedo 
Reverendis,  D.  mea  D.  Card."     (I  transfer  my  vote  to  my  Lord  Cardinal 

.)      If  an  elector  wishes  to  vote   as  on  the  first  ballot,   he  writes 

"Nemini"  after  this,  meaning:  "I  do  not  wish  to  transfer  my  vote  to 
any  one."  If  the  votes  of  accession  combired  with  those  of  the  first  ballot 
give   any  Cardinal   the   requisite  majority,   a  minute   verification   begins. 


The  ballots  were  burned  at  the  end  of  each  vote.  If 
there  was  no  election  a  little  damp  straw  was  strewn  on 
the  flames,  which  caused  a  thick  column  of  dark  smoke 
{sfumata)  to  arise  from  the  chimney.  Thus  the  waiting 
crowd  in  the  piazza  of  St.  Peter's  knew  that  the  Papacy- 
was  still  vacant.  After  the  scrutiny  which  showed  that 
a  Pope  had  been  chosen,  the  ballots  were  burned  without 
the  straw  and  the  white  smoke  conveyed  the  welcome 
news  to  the  multitude. 

A  grave  difficulty  in  the  choice  of  a  new  Pope  pre- 
sented itself  to  the  Sacred  College.  Many  of  the  mem- 
bers desired  the  elevation  of  Cardinal  RampoUa,  Leo's 
brilliant  Secretary  of  State,  who  had  spoken  the  mind 
and  executed  the  policies  of  that  Pontiff,  and  to  whose 
skill  and  breadth  of  view  Leo  owed  not  a  few  of  the  suc- 
cesses in  diplomacy  which  he  obtained.  Rampolla,  for 
all  his  tact,  had  been  no  more  wanting  in  courage  than 
his  master.  Austria,  then  the  leading  Catholic  power, 
feared  that  his  friendship  for  France  would  be  too  much 
in  evidence  if  he  rose  to  the  Papacy,  and  his  numerous 
body  of  supporters  in  the  conclave  were  weakened  in  their 
stand  by  the  impression  that  his  election  was  impossible. 
The  difficulty  which  an  aggressive  Papal  Secretary  of 
State  must  find  in  obtaining  the  equal  good  will  of  all  the 
powers  is  apparent. 

By  custom  rather  than  law,  but  still  a  custom  which, 
previous  to  1903,  had  possessed  the  weight  of  law,  the 
right  of  veto  on  the  election  of  any  one  as  Pope  had  been 
conceded  to  the  three  principal  Catholic  powers,  Aus- 
tria, France  and  Spain,  and  they  had  sought  to  exercise  it 
not  infrequently.    There  was  a  belief  that  if  Rampolla's 


election  became  probable,  Austria  would  seize  the  oppor- 
tunity to  interpose  directly. 

Cardinals  Serafino  Vannutelli,  Svampa  and  Gotti,  each 
of  whom  would  have  been  considered  a  worthy  successor 
of  Leo,  also  commanded  considerable  followings.  The 
general  view  among  the  electors  before  the  balloting  be- 
gan was  that  Vannutelli  would  win.  The  result  rein- 
forced the  credence  given  to  the  ancient  saying:  "He 
who  enters  the  conclave  Pope,  comes  out  Cardinal." 
Svampa's  name  was  associated  with  certain  prophecies 
attributed  in  recent  times  to  the  twelfth  century  St. 
Malachy  of  Armagh,  among  which  ''ignis  ardens^'  or 
burning  fire,  was  indicated  for  the  successor  of  Leo. 
Gotti  was  the  Prefect  of  the  Propaganda,  called  the 
"Red  Pope"  on  account  of  his  power  in  that  office,  and 
also  the  "Marble  Cardinal"  because  he  had  worn  the 
white  habit  of  a  Carmelite  monk. 

One  of  those  who  had  discussed  with  his  colleagues 
before  the  period  of  seclusion  the  chances  of  these  prom- 
inent candidates  was  Cardinal  Sarto,  the  loved  and  sim- 
ple-hearted Patriarch  of  Venice.  It  had  not  entered  his 
thoughts  that  he  himself  might  be  chosen  to  the  Pontifi- 
cate, and  when  he  left  his  See  to  take  part  in  the  con- 
clave he  had  bought  a  return  ticket.  To  his  amazement, 
he  received  five  votes  on  the  first  ballot.  Turning  to  one 
who  was  near  him  he  said: 

"The  Cardinals  are  amusing  themselves  at  my  expense." 

Rampolla  led  at  the  outset  of  the  voting,  and  continued 
to  gain  for  some  time.  On  the  third  scrutiny  he  received 
twenty-nine  votes,  forty-two  being  necessary  to  elect. 
Just  before  the  fourth  ballot,  the  expected  veto  of  Aus- 


tria  was  communicated  by  the  Archbishop  of  Cracow,  but 
Rampolla  held  his  twenty-nine  votes  firmly.  The  Car- 
dinals wished  to  indicate  clearly  that  they  desired  to  pre- 
serve their  freedom  of  action. 

But  Sarto  had  developed  unexpected  strength,  and  the 
supporters  of  Rampolla  began  to  lose  heart  more  and 
more.  On  the  fifth  ballot,  still  desiring  to  assert  their 
independence,  they  rallied  again,  and  he  received  thirty 
votes,  his  highest  for  the  conclave,  while  Sarto  received 

Sarto  now  seemed  positively  frightened,  and  begged 
the  Cardinals  not  to  think  of  him.  His  tears  flowed 
again  as  he  exclaimed:  "I  beseech  you  to  forget  my 
name."  Cardinal  Lecot  having  addressed  a  remark  to 
him  in  French,  he  replied  that  he  did  not  understand  that 
language.  With  Gallic  spirit,  Lecot  responded:  "You 
will  never  be  Pope  if  you  do  not  speak  French."  "Thanks 
be  to  God  I"  exclaimed  Sarto  fervently.^ 

Though  Rampolla  had  maintained  and  even  increased 
his  vote,  it  was  now  evident  that  he  would  not  be  elected. 
The  appeals  of  Sarto  could  not  be  disregarded  by  his  col- 
leagues, and  the  situation  had  reached  an  impasse.  All 
of  the  Cardinals  but  Gibbons  seemed  to  consider  that  the 
election  of  the  Patriarch  of  Venice  was  impossible.  Gib- 
bons sounded  out  the  situation  by  questioning  some  of 
them,  and  they  agreed  in  the  view  that  Sarto  could  no 
longer  be  considered  a  candidate.  He  had  positively 
refused  to  accept  any  further  support,  and  the  situation 
appeared  to  have  fallen  back  to  where  it  was  when  the 
conclave  had  begun. 

"  Forbes,  Life  of  Pius  X,  p.  62. 


To  Gibbons  the  developments  of  the  conclave  had  but 
one  meaning.  Sarto  was  the  choice  of  the  Cardinals,  and 
that  choice  must  not  be  set  aside.  In  his  bare  room,  he 
held  a  consultation  with  his  long  time  friend  and  devoted 
adherent,  Satolli,  and  they  canvassed  the  situation  with 
the  gravest  concern.  Satolli,  like  the  other  Italian  Car- 
dinals, could  see  no  available  candidate,  and  he  was 
equally  positive  that  it  was  impossible  to  persuade  Sarto 
to  swerve  from  his  decision. 

Gibbons  had  great  faith  in  the  persuasive  eloquence  of 
Satolli,  and  he  felt  that  as  a  fellow-countryman  of  the 
Patriarch  of  Venice  no  one  was  better  fitted  to  induce 
Sarto  to  turn  aside  from  a  decision  that  seemed  irrevo- 
cable. Many  had  pleaded  with  him,  but  Gibbons  doubted 
that  these  appeals  had  been  carefully  calculated  as  to 
their  effectiveness;  and  he  decided  to  frame  for  himself  a 
speech  to  be  addressed  to  Sarto,  through  the  mouth  of 
Satolli,  imploring  him  to  lay  aside  his  objections,  and 
urging  upon  him  as  a  duty  to  submit  to  the  will  of  Provi- 
dence, sacrificing  himself  in  the  interest  of  religion.  Sa- 
tolli was  firmly  convinced  that  the  project  would  be 
futile,  but  he  could  refuse  nothing  that  Gibbons  asked, 
and  he  promised  to  undertake  the  mission. 

This  state  of  mind  on  Satolli's  part  confirmed  Gibbons 
in  his  view  of  the  necessity  of  framing  his  own  argu- 
ment to  be  presented,  for  he  alone  appeared  to  believe 
that  Sarto  could  still  be  persuaded.  When  Satolli  ex- 
claimed "What  shall  we  do? — What  can  we  do?"  Gib- 
bons replied : 

"Cardinal  Sarto  must  be  made  to  accept.  He  must  not 
be  allowed  to  refuse.     Impress  upon  him  with  all  the 


force  of  that  eloquence  which  you  possess  that  he  is  the 
choice  of  his  colleagues;  that  God's  will  is  being  mani- 
fested through  them;  that  he  must  accept  the  sacrifice, 
take  up  the  burden,  and  God  will  give  him  the  necessary 
strength  to  guide  the  bark  of  Peter." 

Gibbons  elaborated  the  appeal  and  Satolli  proceeded 
to  execute  his  delicate  undertaking.  Inspired  by  the  ear- 
nestness of  Gibbons,  he  pressed  home  one  argument  after 
another,  until  at  length  he  induced  Sarto  to  say  that  he 
would  accept  election  "as  a  cross." 

Satolli  reported  his  success  to  Gibbons,  who  proceeded 
on  the  same  night  to  call  on  Sarto  and  strengthen  him  in 
his  decision  by  pouring  the  balm  of  consolation  upon  his 
troubled  spirit.  He  assured  the  Pope-to-be  that  the 
Church  in  America,  with  all  her  devotion  and  enthusiasm, 
would  be  an  element  of  strength  to  him,  his  glory  and 
his  crown.     Sarto  never  forgot  that  interview. 

Gibbons  requested  Satolli  to  announce  Sarto's  accept- 
ance to  the  conclave  without  delay,  and  the  joyful  news: 
"He  has  consented"  passed  among  the  electors.  Satolli 
declared  to  the  conclave  that  Sarto,  yielding  to  the  pres- 
sure of  his  colleagues,  had  resigned  himself  to  Providence. 
On  the  next  ballot,  the  sixth,  he  received  thirty-five  votes, 
while  Rampolla's  vote  fell  to  sixteen.  On  the  seventh 
ballot  fifty  votes  were  cast  for  Sarto,  and  he  was  elected. 

After  the  election  the  canopies  of  all  the  thrones,  ex- 
cept Sarto's,  were  lowered,  according  to  custom.  He  was 
on  the  verge  of  prostration,  and  a  deathly  pallor  over- 
spread his  countenance.  Restoratives  were  administered 
to  him  and  at  length  he  revived  sufficiently  to  be  robed 
in  the  white  cassock  of  a  Pope.    After  he  had  chosen  the 


name  of  Pius,  he  removed  his  red  zucchetto  and  presented 
it  to  Archbishop  Merry  del  Val,  indicative  of  the  future 
elevation  of  that  prelate  to  the  Sacred  College. 

Gibbons  saw,  as  he  said,  "the  overruling  action  of  the 
Holy  Ghost  in  those  heterogeneous  elements"  that  com- 
posed the  Sacred  College,  and  upon  leaving  the  Sistine 
Chapel  at  the  conclusion  of  the  conclave  he  exclaimed: 
"The  finger  of  God  is  here." 

Thus  was  the  voice  of  an  American,  heard  for  the 
first  time  in  a  Papal  conclave,  potent  in  bringing  about  a 
decision.  The  hopelessness  regarding  Sarto's  acceptance 
which  appeared  to  overpower  the  other  Cardinals,  was 
foreign  to  Gibbons  because  he  was  never  hopeless  and 
rarely  despondent.  It  was  not  the  first  time  that  he  had 
brought  a  great  result  out  of  seeming  failure.  When  other 
men  wavered,  his  natural  disposition,  as  well  as  his  judg- 
ment, seemed  to  incline  him  to  stand  more  firmly  than 

The  Cardinals  could  not  fail  to  recall  the  parallel  to 
the  conclave  of  1878  when  Cardinal  Pecci,  the  future 
Leo  XIII,  had  been  on  the  point  of  pleading  with  the 
Sacred  College  not  to  elect  him.  O'Reilly  relates  that 
just  before  the  voting  began  Pecci  said  to  one  of  the 
members  of  the  Sacred  College : 

"I  cannot  control  myself.  I  must  address  the  Sacred 
College.  I  fear  that  they  are  about  to  commit  a  sad 
mistake.  People  think  I  am  a  learned  man.  They  take 
me  as  one  possessing  wisdom;  but  I  am  neither  learned 
nor  wise.  They  suppose  I  have  the  necessary  qualifi- 
cations for  a  Pope ;  I  have  nothing  of  the  kind.  That  is 
what  I  want  to  say  to  the  Cardinals." 


The  other  Cardinal  replied : 

"As  to  your  learning,  we,  not  you,  can  best  judge  of 
that.  As  to  your  qualifications  for  the  Pontifical  office, 
God  knows  what  they  are;  leave  it  all  to  Him." 

Cardinal  Pecci  obeyed.* 

On  the  evening  of  the  day  on  which  the  conclave  ended 
Gibbons  called  on  the  new  Pope  and  found  that  his  agi- 
tation had  departed.  A  great  inward  calm  sustained  him. 
Pius,  who  by  that  time  had  learned  of  the  influences 
which  had  operated  within  the  conclave,  welcomed  the 
American  Cardinal  with  the  deepest  gratitude  and  affec- 
tion. He  accepted  his  elevation  as  due  to  the  working 
of  Divine  Providence,  of  which  Gibbons  had  been  an 
instrument  in  saving  him  from  holding  out  to  the  end,  in 
his  deep  humility,  against  the  call  to  the  Papacy. 

Pius,  in  his  thankfulness,  would  have  granted  almost 
any  request  that  Gibbons  could  have  made,  but  the  only 
wish  which  the  American  Cardinal  had  to  express  at  that 
time  was  characteristic  of  him — one  for  a  simple  personal 
service  to  others.  Some  American  pilgrims  were  in  Rome, 
having  started  from  their  distant  homes  in  the  expecta- 
tion of  being  received  by  Leo  XIII.  Now  there  was  a 
new  Pope,  but  they  were  obliged  to  leave  the  city  the 
next  day.  Would  Pius  see  them  in  their  eagerness  to  be 
among  the  first  to  behold  the  successor  of  Leo  after  his 
elevation?  They  did  not  fully  comprehend  the  difficulty 
of  granting  their  request,  and  they  believed,  like  other 
American  Catholics,  that  Gibbons  could  accomplish  al- 
most anything. 

The  Cardinal  knew  of  the  preoccupations  of  the  new 

®  O'Reilly,  Life  of  Leo  XIII,  p.  310. 


Pope  on  the  second  day  of  his  reign.  He  knew  that  it 
would  be  almost  presumptuous  to  ask  Pius  to  turn  aside 
from  the  mass  of  decisions  that  were  pressing  upon  him 
to  receive  any  part  of  the  group  of  pilgrims  who  are 
nearly  always  in  Rome,  but  his  kind  heart  would  not  per- 
mit his  voice  to  frame  the  word  "no"  to  his  fellow-coun- 
trymen. He  decided  to  present  the  request  to  Pius, 
knowing  that  the  Pope  would  comply,  if  at  all,  only  as 
a  favor  to  him  and  not  as  a  favor  to  the  American 

He  found  the  Pope  more  than  ready  to  do  what  he  pro- 
posed. Pius,  notwithstanding  the  need  of  conserving  and 
regulating  his  time,  when  so  many  wished  to  see  him 
upon  business  that  could  not  be  deferred,  replied  in- 
stantly that  he  would  grant  the  request  with  pleasure  "at 
any  time  you  suggest,"  thus  giving  the  visit  of  the  Ameri- 
cans precedence  over  everything  else  that  was  immediately 
before  him.     Gibbons  responded: 

"I  shall  be  glad  if  you  will  receive  them,  your  Holi- 
ness, at  any  time  which  you  may  suggest." 

"I  will  receive  them  to-morrow  afternoon,"  replied 
Pius,  and  he  kept  his  word. 

Gibbons  accompanied  the  pilgrims  into  the  Papal  audi- 
ence chamber.  When  he  went  forward  to  kiss  the  hand 
of  the  Pontiff,  as  is  customary,  Pius  would  not  permit  it ; 
in  a  burst  of  affection,  he  opened  his  arms,  embraced  Gib- 
bons and  kissed  him  on  both  cheeks. 

Gibbons  could  not  leave  Rome  without  canvassing  the 
situation  and  prospects  of  the  Church  in  America  with 
the  new  Pontiff,  to  whom  he  must  now  look  for  support. 
He  knew,  of  course,  that  Pius  lacked  the  varied  and  ac- 


curate  knowledge  of  America  which  Leo  had  shown  on 
so  many  occasions,  partly  the  result  of  the  experience  of 
a  quarter  of  a  century  in  the  Papacy,  partly  of  an  excep- 
tional memory  and  partly  also  of  his  direct  personal  in- 
terest in  Gibbons  and  Gibbons'  country  throughout  his 
reign.  To  Pius,  Venice  had  been  the  world;  but  he  was 
ready  to  face  his  new  responsibilities  with  courage  and  de- 
cision, and  he  wished  now  to  learn  what  had  seemed  use- 
less to  him  before. 

He  asked  many  questions  of  Gibbons ;  said  that  he  had 
met  few  Americans,  and  that  those  with  whom  he  had 
come  in  contact  had  impressed  him  favorably;  and  ex- 
pressed deep  interest  in  the  welfare  of  the  country  and 
the  character  of  its  people.  The  Pope  renewed  his  ex- 
pressions of  affection  for  the  American  Cardinal,  who 
had  seen  clearly  when  others  in  the  recent  conclave  had 
doubted.  He  seemed  to  feel  that  in  Gibbons  he  had  a 
helper  upon  whom  he  could  lean  with  implicit  confidence, 
at  a  time  when  the  necessity  was  imposed  upon  him  of 
extreme  care  in  weighing  advice  that  was  given  him  be- 
fore accepting  it. 

Gibbons  saw  how  necessary  it  was  to  enlist  the  interest 
of  Pius  in  the  Catholic  University,  whose  continued  prog- 
ress was  dependent  upon  the  favor  of  the  head  of  the 
Church,  His  heart  was  in  his  words  as  he  pleaded  for 
"the  child  of  his  age,"  and  Pius  listened  to  him  with 
ready  sympathy.  The  Pope  acceded  to  the  wish  of  Gib- 
bons by  promising  that  he  would  issue  a  brief  in  behalf 
of  the  university,  and  would  follow  its  development  with 
interest  and  whole-hearted  support. 

It  was  desired  also  that  an  exhibit  of  Vatican  relics 


should  be  prepared  for  the  St.  Louis  Exposition  soon  to 
be  held  in  honor  of  the  centennial  of  the  Louisiana  Pur- 
chase, in  which  project  the  support  of  Gibbons  had  been 
enlisted.  One  of  the  first  Pontifical  acts  of  Pius  was  to 
direct  that  these  relics  be  sent  to  St.  Louis  as  a  symbol 
of  the  Papal  favor  for  an  observance  that  marked  the 
transfer  to  the  American  flag  of  a  great  region  first  pene- 
trated by  Catholic  missionaries  and  explorers. 



After  the  tension  of  the  Papal  conclave  and  the  events 
which  it  had  brought  in  its  train,  Gibbons  felt  the  need 
of  recuperation.  He  spent  several  days  at  Castle  Gan- 
dolfo,  the  summer  home  of  the  American  College,  after 
which  he  left  Rome  for  Switzerland.  At  Territet,  on 
the  Lake  of  Geneva,  he  remained  for  ten  days  as  the  guest 
of  Francis  de  Sales  Jenkins,  a  member  of  a  Catholic  fam- 
ily of  Maryland  identified  with  that  State  since  the  days 
of  the  Calverts,  among  whose  members  were  some  of  the 
most  devoted  personal  friends  of  Gibbons.  This  beau- 
tiful home,  which  was  called  "The  Villa  Maryland,"  was 
near  the  Castle  of  Chillon,  made  famous  by  Byron;  and 
there  amid  congenial  surroundings  the  Cardinal  was  able 
to  regain  his  strength  rapidly.  From  Territet,  he  pro- 
ceeded to  Houlgate,  Normandy,  where  he  was  the  guest 
of  Leopold  Huffer  for  a  time  at  the  "Villa  Columbia." 

The  extent  of  the  Cardinal's  influence  upon  the  decision 
of  the  conclave  was  not  then  known  in  America,  nor  in- 
deed anywhere  outside  of  a  small  circle  in  Rome.  The 
fact  that  he  had  been  the  first  American  to  participate  in 
the  election  of  a  Pope  was,  however,  sufficient  in  itself  to 
excite  the  keen  interest  of  his  fellow-countrymen;  and 
when  he  returned  to  Baltimore  September  24  the  city  was 

moved  to  acclaim  him  as  never  before.    By  this  time  he 



had  become  beyond  all  doubt  a  popular  hero  in  his  own 

Even  though  the  details  of  what  he  had  accomplished 
in  behalf  of  his  fellow-men  were  unknown  or  obscured 
as  a  result  of  the  secrecy  which  necessarily  surrounded 
many  of  his  actions  in  inner  councils,  the  people  had 
obtained  in  an  indefinable  way  a  true  sense  of  what 
he  was  and  what  he  stood  for.  The  admiration  of  Cath- 
olic Americans  for  him  was,  of  course,  based  chiefly  upon 
the  fact  that  no  man  whom  their  country  had  contributed 
to  the  Church  had  attained  such  influence  as  he  in  shaping 
her  weightier  decisions.  He  was  now  before  the  world 
in  a  clear  light  as  one  of  the  leaders  of  the  Church  who 
stood  with  a  small  group  at  the  head  of  all  others  in  his 
time;  one  of  three,  the  others  being  Leo  and  Manning, 
who  had  been  most  potent  in  guiding  the  Church 
during  Leo's  reign;  one  whose  American  patriotism, 
tried  and  true,  presented  in  their  minds  an  example 
which  few  other  men  had  ever  presented,  a  patriotism 
which  had  burned  with  a  strong  and  steady  light 
so  that  all  might  see  while  statesmen  and  causes  rose 
and  fell;  one  whose  advocacy  of  the  institutions  of 
his  country  inside  and  outside  the  Church  had  estab- 
lished America  in  the  eyes  of  Europeans  in  a  posi- 
tion which  they  had  never  before  acknowledged  her  to 
possess;  the  foremost  influence  in  preventing  the  essential 
integrity  of  American  constitutional  government  from 
being  threatened  by  the  sudden  wave  of  immigration 
which  had  caused  alarm  to  some  of  the  stoutest  souls. 

He  stood  before  them  now  as  a  friend  and  counselor  of 
Popes  and  Presidents,  of  churchmen  and  statesmen  in 


high  places;  above  all,  as  one  who  spoke  sanely  and 
calmly  and  convincingly  upon  the  larger  questions  that 
divided  the  thoughts  of  men,  and  whose  voice  Americans 
were  readier  to  hear  with  respect  and  approval  than  any 
other  voice  in  the  land. 

Thus,  while  there  was  inevitable  obscurity  in  the  pub- 
lic mind  regarding  the  processes  by  which  the  Catholic 
Church  in  the  deliberations  of  her  foremost  leaders  shapes 
her  decrees  intended  to  elevate  the  lives  of  men,  and  while 
many  of  Gibbons'  acts  of  participation  in  decisions  of 
State  relating  to  his  own  country  shared  that  obscurity, 
the  people  seemed  to  have  formed  the  same  judgment  of 
him  as  if  they  had  known  all.  They  rated  him  for  what 
he  was  and,  as  Americans  always  do,  rated  him  largely 
for  character.  Non-Catholics  shared  with  Catholics  their 
complete  confidence  in  his  sincerity  and  earnestness,  no 
less  than  in  the  striking  ability  which  alone  could  have 
enabled  him  to  attain  what  they  saw  he  had  attained. 

In  the  eyes  of  Americans  he  stood  almost  isolated  as  a 
sage  and  a  patriot;  as  one  raised  to  a  height  and  yet  living 
and  moving  among  his  fellow  countrymen  without  vanity 
or  pomp  as  one  of  them,  sharing  in  the  trials  and  prob- 
lems of  the  humblest  as  well  as  the  greatest,  a  servant  of 
God  and  a  friend  of  mankind. 

If  the  test  of  a  man  be  the  esteem  in  which  he  is  held 
at  home  by  those  who  know  him  best,  surely  no  one  met 
that  test  more  fully  than  Gibbons.  To  Baltimore  he  had 
become  the  beloved  first  citizen.  His  fame  overshadowed 
the  city  and  in  their  affection  for  him,  unrestrained  by 
arbitrary  boundaries  of  creed,  the  people  of  Baltimore 
felt  that  they  shared  in  that  fame.    When  any  great  ac- 


complishment  was  to  be  undertaken  by  his  neighbors,  they 
thought  of  him  first.  His  name  must  head  the  list  of 
those  to  whom  they  would  look  for  discriminating  ap- 
proval and  powerful  support.  In  their  eyes  he  embodied 
the  loftiest  type  which  they  could  produce,  the  citizen 
par  excellence^  the  master  spirit  who  walked  among  them 
and  yet  who  walked  so  simply  that  they  felt  that  he  was 
brother  as  well  as  chief. 

The  city  could  not  be  restrained  in  its  exuberance  when 
he  returned  from  the  conclave.  When  he  arrived  at  the 
railroad  station,  Mayor  McLane  and  a  full  representation 
of  the  civic  authorities  were  waiting  to  receive  him,  while 
outside  the  building  dense  crowds  filled  the  air  with  a  din 
of  cheering  similar  to  that  which  would  have  marked  the 
visit  of  a  President.  The  Mayor  expressed  the  feelings 
of  all  in  the  following  speech  of  greeting: 

"Your  Eminence  has  already  received  a  most  hearty 
welcome,  most  properly  extended  to  you  on  your  arrival 
in  this  country  by  the  members  of  the  society  in  which 
you  have  shown  so  much  interest,  and  to  whose  success 
you  have  contributed  so  much.  It  becomes  my  pleasant 
duty  to  extend  to  you  a  wider  welcome,  which  embraces 
the  citizens  of  Baltimore  generally,  of  all  creeds  and 
conditions,  who,  one  and  all,  cherish  the  deepest  rever- 
ence and  respect  for  your  great  and  noble  character. 

"When  the  news  of  the  death  of  the  Pope  reached  us, 
it  was  received  with  a  feeling  of  apprehension  by  us  on 
account  of  the  arduous  strain  of  your  great  responsibilities 
in  a  trying  climate,  and  we  feared  its  influence  upon  your 
health,  and  the  sympathies  of  the  entire  community  went 
out  to  you.  To  see  you  return  in  good  health  is  a  great 
pleasure,  and,  in  behalf  of  my  fellow-citizens  of  Balti- 
more, I  extend  to  you  a  most  hearty  welcome  and  the 


best  wishes  of  the  entire  community  for  a  long  life  of 
perfect  happiness." 

Judge  Heuisler,  a  Catholic,  spoke  in  the  name  of  the 
members  of  his  faith,  when  he  said : 

"It  is  true,  your  Eminence,  and  happy  am  I  to  say  it, 
that  all  the  people  of  America  appreciate  you,  revere  you, 
and  love  you  for  the  work  that  you  have  done ;  and  this 
greeting,  while  with  us  but  local,  will  be  heard  with 
pleasure  and  with  sympathy  in  all  sections  of  our  com- 
mon country.  In  the  presence  of  profound  emotions,  all 
hearts  must  speak  from  out  the  window  of  the  soul;  the 
eye  must  flash  the  welcome  and  the  lips  be  dumb;  and  I 
will  say  no  more.  Cead  mille  fcdlthe — a  hundred  thou- 
sand welcomes." 

The  Cardinal,  greatly  moved,  responded  with  a  few 
words  of  thanks  voiced  from  the  depths  of  his  soul. 

He  had  been  informed  of  the  program  of  welcome  be- 
fore his  arrival  in  the  city,  and,  accompanied  by  the  city 
officials  and  others,  took  his  place  in  a  carriage  in  the 
line  of  a  great  parade  of  church  and  civic  organizations 
which  escorted  him  to  the  Cathedral.  Every  window 
along  the  street  was  crowded  with  people  who  applauded. 
After  the  American  fashion,  he  bowed  continuously  as 
his  carriage  moved  slowly  along,  and  did  not  fail  to  ac- 
knowledge the  numerous  salutes  from  personal  friends, 
bestowing  a  smile  upon  each  of  them  whom  he  recognized 
in  the  crowds. 

Arriving  at  the  Cathedral,  a  group  of  young  women, 
dressed  in  white  and  carrying  American  flags,  greeted 
him  and  one  of  them  presented  to  him  a  bouquet  of  sixty- 
nine  roses,  one  for  each  year  of  his  life.    Taking  his  place 


upon  the  portico  of  the  Cathedral,  with  the  Mayor  beside 
him,  he  reviewed  the  parade. 

After  the  procession  was  over  the  Cardinal  entered  the 
Cathedral  and  spoke  simply  to  his  friends  and  neighbors. 
He  told  them  of  his  travels;  of  some  of  his  experiences 
in  Rome ;  and  did  not  fail  to  mention  that  the  American 
pilgrims  had  been  the  first  to  be  received  by  the  new 

"And  now,"  he  remarked,  "I  am  most  happy  to  be 
home  again." 

He  commended  the  new  Pope  to  the  prayers  of  all, 
and  bestowed  his  blessing  upon  the  multitude.  Solemn 
benediction  followed.  Proceeding  to  his  residence  in  the 
rear  of  the  church,  he  found  another  cheering  crowd 
massed  in  front  of  it,  and  was  obliged  to  appear  at  the 
bay  window  from  which  he  so  often  reviewed  parades  and 
from  which  now  he  expressed  his  thanks  for  the  ovation. 

It  had  long  been  his  custom  after  returning  from  trips 
abroad  to  preach  at  the  Cathedral  upon  his  experiences. 
On  Sunday,  October  4,  a  great  congregation  assembled 
to  hear  a  sermon  from  him  in  which  he  gave  his  impres- 
sions of  the  Papal  conclave.  As  always  at  the  Cathedral 
during  his  long  tenure  as  Archbishop,  hundreds  of  Prot- 
estants were  present  when  he  preached. 

He  began  by  saying  that  twelve  nations  had  been  rep- 
resented by  the  sixty-two  Cardinals  who  had  taken  part 
in  the  conclave,  and  that  "this  was  the  first  time  in  the 
history  of  the  Christian  religion  that  the  United  States, 
or  any  part  of  this  western  hemisphere,  was  ever  associ- 
ated with  the  other  nations  of  Christendom  in  selecting 
a  successor  to  the  Prince  of  the  Apostles.    He  added : 


"I  should  not  be  surprised  if  in  the  next  conclave  the 
Catholic  Church  of  the  United  States  were  to  be  repre- 
sented by  several  members  of  the  Sacred  College,  so  that 
the  number  of  Cardinals  from  our  country  may  be  com- 
mensurate with  the  population,  the  grandeur  and  the 
commanding  influence  of  the  nation,  and  may  be  in  keep- 
ing also  with  the  numerical  strength  of  our  Hierarchy 
and  laity  and  the  splendor  and  progress  of  our  religious 
and  charitable  institutions."  ^ 

The  Cardinal  spoke  of  the  "high  order  of  intelligence, 
great  discretion,  large  experience,  and  integrity  of  char- 
acter" which  had  marked  the  Cardinals  as  he  had  ob- 
served them,  and  added: 

"The  Cardinals,  however,  are  not  angels,  but  men,  sub- 
ject to  the  usual  infirmities  and  temptations  of  flesh  and 
blood.  And  because  they  are  not  exempt  from  the  frail- 
ties incident  to  mankind,  and  because  of  the  peerless  dig- 
nity of  the  Supreme  Pontificate,  as  well  as  of  the  tremen- 
dous responsibility  it  involves,  every  precaution  that 
human  ingenuity  and  experience  could  suggest  had  been 
availed  of  in  this,  as  in  preceding  conclaves,  so  that  no 
cloud  should  rest  over  the  election  of  the  successful  can- 

"I  was  present  at  the  conclave  and  took  part  in  its 
proceedings,  and  without  revealing  its  secrets,  I  can  most 
positively  assure  you  and  the  American  people  that  the 
election  of  the  Pope  was  conducted  with  absolute  free- 
dom, with  the  utmost  fairness  and  impartiality,  and  with 
a  dignity  and  solemnity  becoming  the  august  assemblage 
of  the  Sacred  College,  and  the  momentous  consequences 
of  their  suffrages." 

*  At  the  time  of  the  election  of  Benedict  XV,  the  successor  of  Pius  X, 
there  were  four  American  Cardinals,  counting  Cardinal  Falconio,  who 
was  an  American  citi/en. 


Gibbons  carefully  omitted  to  mention  his  own  part  in 
the  solution  of  the  deadlock  which  had  confronted  the 
conclave  when  the  election  of  Rampolla  became  impos- 
sible and  Sarto  had  refused  to  accept  elevation.  He  told 
of  Sarto's  plea  "that  you  shall  forget  my  name,"  and 
remarked : 

"All  were  moved  by  the  modesty  and  the  transparent 
sincerity  of  the  man.  When  he  resumed  his  seat,  his 
cheeks  were  suffused  with  blushes,  tears  were  gushing 
from  his  eyes,  and  his  body  trembled  with  emotion. 
Never  did  a  prisoner  make  greater  efforts  to  escape  from 
his  confinement  than  did  Cardinal  Sarto  to  escape  from 
the  yoke  of  the  Papacy.  With  his  Divine  Master,  he 
exclaimed:  'Father,  if  it  be  possible,  let  this  chalice 
pass  from  me.  Nevertheless,  not  my  will,  but  Thine  be 
done  I'  When  his  election  was  officially  announced,  his 
florid  countenance  assumed  a  deathly  pallor  and  restora- 
tives were  applied  to  save  him  from  fainting." 

He  characterized  the  new  Pontiff  as  "a  man  of  God 
and  a  man  of  the  people,"  adding  that  the  virtues  of 
humility,  sincerity,  candor  and  benevolence  were  stamped 
upon  his  features. 

Gibbons  proceeded  to  point  out  that  the  Papacy  was 
the  most  ancient  of  all  existing  dynasties.    He  continued : 

"The  influence  of  the  Papacy  is  more  far-reaching  than 
that  of  any  earthly  ruler.  Kings  and  emperors  and  civil 
magistrates  exact  external  compliance  with  the  laws  of 
the  land.  They  cannot  control  the  sanctuary  of  the  heart. 
The  Sovereign  Pontiff,  though  he  has  no  army  to  enforce 
his  commands,  makes  and  interprets  laws  which  bind  the 
consciences  of  men. 

"The  rule  of  the  successors  of  Peter  has  been  the  most 


beneficent  in  the  cause  of  civilization  and  humanity. 
When  the  Roman  Empire  was  dissolved,  the  ark  of  the 
Church,  under  the  guidance  of  the  Sovereign  Pontiifs, 
floated  triumphantly  on  the  troubled  waters  beneath 
which  the  monuments  of  centuries  had  lain  entombed. 

"The  Papacy  has  contributed  more  than  any  civil  gov- 
ernment to  the  intellectual  progress  of  mankind.  If 
Europe  is  today  immeasurably  in  advance  of  Asia,  in 
literature,  in  the  arts  and  sciences,  is  it  not  because 
Europe  was  more  in  touch  than  Asia  with  the  Roman  Pon- 
tiff, and  felt  the  impress  of  his  strong  but  tender  hand*? 

"Were  it  not  for  the  unceasing  vigilance  of  the  Bishops 
of  Rome,  the  crescent  instead  of  the  Cross  would  have  sur- 
mounted the  domes  and  temples  of  Europe;  Mohamme- 
danism instead  of  Christianity  would  be  the  dominant 
religion  of  that  continent,  and  our  fathers  who  came  from 
Europe  would  have  brought  with  them  their  religion  and 
their  laws  from  the  Koran  instead  of  the  Bible. 

"Among  the  Pontiffs  who  have  sat  in  the  Chair  of 
Peter  for  the  last  three  centuries,  Leo  XIII,  whom  Pius 
X  succeeded,  stands  pre-eminent.  He  has  indelibly 
stamped  the  impress  of  his  name  and  genius  on  the  civ- 
ilized world.  He  has  written  Encyclicals  to  the  nations 
of  Christendom,  treating  on  the  most  momentous  subjects 
of  the  day.  He  has  dealt  not  with  abstract  or  speculative 
questions,  but  with  topics  affecting  the  social  and  politii 
cal  as  well  as  the  moral  and  religious  well-being  of  the 
world.  He  has  conclusively  shown  that  he  was  always 
in  touch  with  humanity  and  could  say  with  the  Roman 
of  old:  ""Nil  humani  a  ?ne  aliejium  putd''' — 'Every  sub- 
ject affecting  the  interests  of  mankind  is  dear  to  me.' 

"Need  we  therefore  wonder  that  Leo's  name  was  re- 
vered and  loved  not  only  by  his  own  spiritual  children, 
but  also  by  persons  of  every  creed,  and  by  every  man 
who  had  at  heart  the  uplifting  of  his  fellow-being'? 

"While  living,  he  was  everywhere  honored  because  his 


words  were  a  tower  of  strength  in  the  cause  of  Christian- 
ity and  stable  government.  Kings,  emperors,  and  princes 
of  every  belief  vied  with  one  another  in  paying  homage  to 
him  and  in  visiting  him.  But  what  he  more  esteemed,  he 
was  loved  and  cherished  by  the  sovereign  people. 

"Leo  has  lifted  up  the  Catholic  Church  to  a  higher 
plane  of  dignity  and  strength  than  it  had  attained  since 
the  days  of  Leo  X.  He  has  infused  new  life  into. the  mis- 
sionary world.  He  has  quickened  with  renewed  zeal 
every  Bishop,  priest  and  layman  that  fell  within  the  scope 
of  his  influence.  He  has  left  to  his  successor  the  pre- 
cious heritage  of  a  blameless  life  and  an  Apostolic  char- 

"What  a  subject  of  profound  reflection  is  presented 
by  the  contrast  between  the  funeral  rites  of  the  late  Pon- 
tiff and  the  coronation  of  his  successor !  All  that  was  left 
on  earth  of  the  great  Leo  at  his  obsequies  were  his  emaci- 
ated and  shrivelled  remains.  That  voice  which  had 
thrilled  millions  throughout  the  world  was  hushed  for- 
ever. Those  hands  which  were  daily  raised  to  bless  lay 
motionless  on  his  breast.  The  same  liturgical  prayers 
were  chanted,  and  the  same  sacrifice  of  propitiation  was 
offered  for  him  that  are  employed  in  behalf  of  the  hum- 
blest layman.  Supplications  were  poured  forth  to  the 
Throne  of  Grace,  not  for  Leo  the  saint,  nor  Leo  the 
scholar  and  statesman,  but  for  Leo  the  humble  penitent, 
who  like  all  the  children  of  Adam,  could  be  saved  only 
through  the  redeeming  merits  of  Jesus  Christ." 

Gibbons  described  the  scene  when  a  newly  elected  Pon- 
tiff is  borne  in  triumph  into  St.  Peter's  basilica,  when  a 
master  of  ceremonies  goes  before  him  with  a  wand  to 
which  is  attached  a  vase  containing  burning  tow,  crying 
out  from  time  to  time  ''Sic  transit  gloria  mundir  He 
concluded : 


"I  am  sure,  however,  that  the  humble  Pontiff  did  not 
need  this  reminder,  nor  was  he  elated  or  dazzled  by  the 
splendor  of  the  pageant;  but,  like  his  Master  who  wept 
on  entering  in  triumph  the  city  of  Jerusalem,  Pius  was 
overwhelmed  by  the  contemplation  of  the  heavy  cross  he 
was  destined  to  bear  through  life.  .  .  . 

"What  a  commentary  is  all  this  on  the  vanity  of 
human  glory!  How  eloquently  it  proclaims  the  truth 
that  God  alone  is  great,  and  that  nothing  can  satisfy 
man's  ambition  except  that  which  is  eternal." 

Pius  issued  the  promised  brief  in  behalf  of  the  Catholic 
University  among  the  first  state  papers  produced  in  the 
course  of  his  reign.  It  was  dated  September  9,  1903, 
and  addressed  to  Gibbons  as  chancellor  of  the  institution. 
Gibbons  had  asked  him  to  sanction  the  proposal  that  a 
collection  be  taken  up  in  all  the  churches  throughout  the 
United  States  annually  for  ten  years  on  the  first  Sunday 
in  Advent,  or  the  first  convenient  Sunday  thereafter,  for 
the  support  of  the  University.  Pius,  in  his  brief,  gave  his 
hearty  sanction  to  this  plan  for  "enhancing  the  dignity 
and  enlarging  the  influence  of  this  noble  seat  of  learn- 
ing." He  declared  it  to  be  his  earnest  wish  that  the 
Bishops  and  laity  should  "labor  strenuously  for  the  good 
of  the  university." 

Pius  wrote  several  times  to  Gibbons  that  the  American 
Cardinal's  prediction  that  the  Church  in  the  United 
States  would  be  one  of  the  greatest  sources  of  consolation 
to  him  during  his  term  in  the  supreme  Pontificate  had  not 
only  been  verified,  but  that  the  results  had  far  exceeded 
his  anticipations. 

The  Pope  repeated  this  personally  a  few  years  later 


when  Gibbons  visited  Rome  ^  before  attending  the  Inter- 
national Eucharistic  Congress  in  London,  at  which  he 
had  been  invited  to  preach.  Soon  after  his  arrival  in 
the  Eternal  City,  on  that  occasion,  Gibbons  was  greeted 
by  two  hundred  Americans  who  happened  to  be  there  on 
a  pilgrimage.  Later  in  an  audience  with  Pius,  he  went 
over  current  problems  of  the  Church  in  America,  and  the 
Pope  conveyed  his  warm  appreciation  of  the  progress  that 
had  been  attained. 

The  viewpoint  of  Pius,  Gibbons  found,  was  still  that 
of  the  ecclesiastic,  rather  than  that  of  the  statesman,  in 
contrast  to  Leo,  with  whom  he  had  weathered  so  many 
storms.  The  man  who  now  ruled  as  Pope  appeared  to 
be  unchanged  in  his  personality  by  his  experiences  in 
that  office.  He  deplored  his  confinement  in  the  Vatican, 
and  expressed  his  keen  regret  that  he  was  never  again  to 
see  the  Venetian  canals.  His  sympathy  and  support  were 
still  as  freely  extended  as  before  to  the  Cardinal  who  had 
done  so  much  to  bring  about  his  election.  When  in  the 
course  of  Gibbons'  visit  to  Rome  he  was  stricken  with  a 
serious  temporary  ailment  incident  to  the  climate,  while 
spending  a  short  time  at  the  summer  home  of  the  Ameri- 
can College,  the  Pope  sent  an  expression  of  deep  sym- 
pathy and  asked  to  be  constantly  informed  of  his 

Gibbons  recovered  fully  in  a  short  time.  After  a  rest 
in  Switzerland,  where  he  was  the  guest  of  Benziger,  the 
artist,  at  Brunnen,  on  Lake  Lucerne,  he  was  able  to  pro- 
ceed to  London,  where  he  preached  in  Westminster  Cathe- 
dral on  the  last  day  of  the  Eucharistic  Congress,  Septem- 


ber  13,  a  sermon  which  was  one  of  the  principal  events 
of  that  gathering.  He  exhorted  fraternity  between  Eng- 
lish and  American  Catholics,  saying: 

"Maryland,  the  mother  of  the  Church  in  the  United 
States,  was  founded  by  English  Catholics.  Leonard 
Calvert,  the  brother  of  Lord  Baltimore,  and  the  leader 
of  the  English  Catholic  colony,  desirous  of  securing 
liberty  of  worship  for  his  co-religionists,  sailed  with  them 
from  Cowes,  Isle  of  Wight,  in  the  Ark  and  Dove — fitting 
messengers  to  carry  the  fortunes  of  the  pioneer  pilgrims. 
They  reached  their  destination  on  the  banks  of  the 
Potomac,  in  1634. 

"This  colony  of  British  Catholics  was  the  first  to  es- 
tablish on  American  soil  the  blessings  of  civil  and  reli- 
gious liberty.  While  the  Puritans  of  New  England  perse- 
cuted other  Christians,  and  while  the  Episcopalians  of 
Virginia  persecuted  Catholics  and  Puritans,  Catholic 
Maryland  gave  freedom  and  hospitality  to  Puritans  and 
Episcopalians  alike.    In  the  words  of  Bancroft : 

"  '  The  foundation  of  the  colony  of  Maryland  was 
peacefully  and  happily  laid.  Within  six  months  it  had 
advanced  more  than  Virginia  had  done  in  as  many  years. 
.  .  .  But  far  more  memorable  was  the  character  of  the 
Maryland  institutions.  Every  other  country  in  the  world 
had  persecuting  laws;  but  through  the  benign  adminis- 
tration of  the  government  of  that  province,  no  person 
professing  to  believe  in  Jesus  Christ  was  permitted  to  be 
molested  on  account  of  religion.  Under  the  munificence 
and  superintending  mildness  of  Lord  Baltimore,  a  dreary 
wilderness  was  soon  quickened  with  swarming  life  and 
the  activity  of  prosperous  settlements :  the  Roman  Catho- 
lics, who  were  oppressed  by  the  laws  of  England,  were 
sure  to  find  a  peaceful  asylum  in  the  quiet  harbors  of  the 
Chesapeake;  and  there,  too,  Protestants  were  sheltered 
from  Protestant  intolerance.     Such  were  the  beautiful 


auspices  under  which  Maryland  started  into  being.  Its 
history  is  the  history  of  benevolence,  gratitude,  and  tolera- 
tion.' " 

Gibbons  went  on  to  describe  "the  chain  of  hallowed 
associations"  between  the  Catholic  Church  of  England 
and  that  of  America.  He  recalled  that  Carroll,  the  first 
American  Bishop,  had  been  consecrated  in  1790  in  the 
chapel  of  Lulworth  Castle,  Dorsetshire,  the  seat  of 
Thomas  Weld,  and  that  one  of  the  acolytes  who  had 
served  on  that  occasion  had  been  a  son  of  the  master  of 
the  castle,  who  afterwards  became  Cardinal  Weld.  The 
Rev.  Charles  Plowden,  of  the  Society  of  Jesus,  an  inti- 
mate friend  of  Carroll,  had  preached  the  consecration 
sermon  in  which  he  had  foreshadowed  the  growth  and 
development  of  the  Church  in  America  with  a  vision 
which  Gibbons  called  prophetic.  The  American  Car- 
dinal continued: 

"But  there  are  other  and  higher  reasons  than  personal 
friendship  to  justify  the  participation  by  American  prel- 
ates in  the  ceremonies  of  today.  Though  we  are  sepa- 
rated from  you  by  an  immense  ocean,  we  are  united  with 
you,  thank  God,  in  the  heritage  of  a  common  faith.  We, 
across  the  Atlantic,  claim,  as  well  as  you,  to  be  the  spir- 
itual children  of  Gregory,  Augustine  and  Patrick,  of 
Alban  and  Venerable  Bede,  of  Anselm  and  Thomas  of 
Canterbury,  of  Peter  and  Pius;  we  have  with  you  one 
Lord,  one  faith,  one  baptism,  one  God  and  Father  of  all. 

"Indeed,  our  kinship  is  stronger  and  more  enduring 
than  that  which  is  created  by  flesh  and  blood.  When  I 
entered  your  Cathedral  this  morning,  I  could  say  to  you 
all,  in  the  name  of  my  countrymen,  and  in  the  language 
of  the  Apostle  of  the  Gentiles :  'We  are  no  more  strangers 


and  foreigners,  but  we  are  fellow  citizens  with  the  saints, 
and  of  the  household  of  God,  built  upon  the  foundation 
of  the  Apostles  and  Prophets,  Jesus  Christ  Himself  being 
the  chief  cornerstone.'  This  sentiment  inspires  me  with 
confidence,  and  makes  me  feel  at  home;  for,  I  am  ad- 
dressing you  as  brothers  in  the  faith,  and  I  can  speak  to 
you  with  all  the  warmth  and  affection  of  the  same 
Apostle :  'My  mouth  is  open  to  you,'  fellow-Catholics  of 
England,  'my  heart  is  enlarged.' 

"But  we  inherit  not  only  the  traditions  of  your  Chris- 
tian faith;  we  inherit  also  the  traditions  of  your  civil 
and  political  freedom.  The  great  charter  of  liberty, 
which  Cardinal  Langton  of  Canterbury  and  the  English 
Barons  wrested  from  King  John,  on  the  plains  of  Runny- 
mede,  is  the  basis  of  our  constitutional  liberties.  We 
share  with  you  in  the  fruit  of  your  victories. 

"We  have  not  only  a  common  heritage  of  civil  and 
political  freedom,  but  we  also  speak  the  same  language — 
the  language  of  Chaucer  and  Shakespeare,  of  Pope  and 
Dryden,  of  Tennyson  and  Newman.  The  steady  growth 
of  the  Church  in  the  English-speaking  world,  during  the 
last  three  centuries,  is  truly  gratifying,  and  may  be  con- 
sidered phenomenal.  For,  whereas,  in  the  sixteenth 
century  the  number  of  English-speaking  Bishops  was 
considerably  under  thirty  there  are  now  upwards  of  two 
hundred  Bishops  ruling  dioceses  where  English  is  the  pre- 
vailing language." 

Gibbons  commented  upon  the  remarkable  proportions 
of  the  Catholic  revival  in  England  in  the  century  just 
passed,  saying: 

"I  may  add  that  if  the  Catholic  Church  is  now  viewed 
with  so  much  respect  and  benevolence  by  the  people  of 
England,  this  circumstance  may  be  ascribed  in  no  small 


measure  to  the  fact  that  the  Catholic  Hierarchy,  and  es- 
pecially the  three  Cardinals  who  have  ruled  the  diocese 
of  Westminster,  have  not  only  deported  themselves  as 
devoted  churchmen,  but  that  they  had  taken  a  personal, 
loyal,  vital  interest  in  every  measure  that  contributed  to 
the  moral,  social  and  economic  welfare  of  their  beloved 

''Over  fifty  years  ago,  after  the  re-establishment  of 
the  English  Catholic  Hierarchy,  at  the  synod  of  Oscott, 
the  illustrious  Dr.  Newman  preached  a  sermon  on  the 
'Second  Spring,'  in  which,  in  his  own  matchless  style  and 
silvery  voice,  he  spoke  of  the  hopes  and  prospects  of  the 
Church  in  England,  after  the  winter  of  her  tribulations 
had  passed  away.  Had  God  spared  him  to  our  day,  with 
what  eloquence  could  he  portray  to  you  how  the  Spring 
had  bloomed  and  ripened  into  Summer ;  and,  as  a  proof  of 
this  development,  he  could  point  to  this  mystical  tree  of 
life,  under  whose  stately  arches  we  are  all  assembled, 
spreading  its  branches  far  and  wide,  so  that  from  hence- 
forth thousands  may  be  sheltered  beneath  its  ample 
shade,  and  be  nourished  by  its  perennial  fruit  of  grace 
and  sanctification." 

Though  Gibbons  had  been  impressed  that  Summer  had 
followed  the  "Second  Spring"  for  English  Catholics 
which  Newman  had  forecast  so  eloquently,  he  could  not 
help  observing  differences  which  still  lingered  between 
the  attitude  toward  the  Church  in  his  own  country,  and 
that  taken  even  among  so  enlightened  a  people  as  the 
English.  On  the  day  when  he  preached,  it  had  been 
intended  to  carry  the  Host  in  the  procession  through  the 
streets;  but  fearing  disturbances.  Premier  Asquith  inter- 
posed, and  the  program  was  changed. 

Gibbons  remained  in  England  for  a  short  time,  being 


the  guest  of  the  Duke  of  Norfolk  and  receiving  other 
social  honors.  Five  years  had  elapsed  since  Baltimore 
had  given  him  a  public  reception,  and  the  city's  appetite 
was  whetted  for  a  new  outburst  of  that  kind.  Gibbons 
did  his  best  to  prevent  it  and  wrote  home  an  earnest  re- 
quest that  the  plans  be  abandoned;  but  so  great  was  the 
desire  to  testify  the  unique  esteem  in  which  he  was  held 
by  his  neighbors  of  all  religious  faiths,  that  despite  his 
own  desires  the  preparations  moved  forward  with  re- 
doubled energy.  When  he  learned  that  the  State  of 
Maryland,  as  well  as  the  city,  was  to  share  in  the  recep- 
tion through  its  officials,  he  was  somewhat  reconciled  to 
the  plan  and  reluctantly  assented. 

Arriving  in  Baltimore  Saturday,  October  lo,  he  was 
greeted  by  a  committee,  including  Governor  Crothers  and 
his  staff,  Mayor  Mahool  and  the  City  Council,  Charles  J. 
Bonaparte,  then  Attorney  General  of  the  United  States, 
and  other  prominent  persons.  The  Governor,  a  Method- 
ist, and  the  Mayor,  an  active  layman  of  the  Presbyterian 
Church,  hailed  him  with  laudatory  speeches.  He  replied, 
as  usual,  in  words  of  simple  kindliness  and  thankfulness, 
saying : 

"I  am  profoundly  moved  by  this  expression  of  kind- 
ness. I  have  no  words  to  convey  the  deep  gratitude  that 
fills  my  heart.  When  I  learned  for  the  first  time  of  this, 
I  wrote  back  to  Baltimore,  requesting  and  directing  that 
it  be  abandoned,  as  I  saw  no  occasion  for  it ;  but  when  I 
learned  that  it  came  from  all  the  people,  and  that  the 
Governor  of  this  liberty-loving  State  was  to  take  part  in 
it,  and  the  Mayor  of  this  city,  which  I  love  so  dearly,  I 
waived  all  personal  feelings." 


Again  there  was  a  public  parade  to  the  Cathedral,  in 
which  15,000  persons  took  part,  including  500  from 
Washington,  the  capital  city  being  a  part  of  Gibbons' 
jurisdiction  as  Archbishop  of  Baltimore.  The  signifi- 
cance of  the  scene  could  not  be  forgotten  by  any  one  who 
looked  upon  the  Cardinal  standing  upon  the  portico  of 
that  beautiful  building,  the  greatest  shrine  of  Catholic 
memories  in  America,  with  the  executive  officers  of  State 
and  city  massed  around  him  reviewing  the  procession,  all 
joining  in  a  tribute  no  less  of  neighborly  love  than  of 
profound  respect  for  the  slender  figure  in  the  red  robe 
who  was  the  center  of  it  all.  Within  the  edifice  the 
Cardinal  gave  solemn  benediction  and  the  Papal  blessing. 

Honors  were  now  beginning  to  be  paid  him  by  those 
among  whom  he  had  labored  with  signal  success  in  the 
earlier  days  of  his  career.  Though  a  national  figure,  he 
had  always  had  a  singular  faculty  of  taking  root  wherever 
he  was  stationed.  Not  the  least  of  those  who  held  him 
in  grateful  memory  were  North  Carolinians,  many  of 
whom  then  living  could  recall  the  days  when,  in  their 
own  state  as  a  missionary  Bishop,  he  had  exemplified 
those  greater  traits  which  had  made  him  one  of  the  prin- 
cipal figures  of  the  world.  The  North  Carolina  Society 
of  Baltimore,  most  of  whose  members  were  Protestants, 
joined  with  his  other  fellow-citizens  in  the  tribute  of 
welcome,  and  presented  to  him  an  engrossed  address  con- 
veying warm  compliments  and  grateful  praise. 



Gibbons  was  one  of  the  first  to  detect  signs  of  the 
sudden  drift  toward  Socialism  in  America,  which  coin- 
cided with  the  advent  of  the  twentieth  century.  He 
knew  that  in  every  country  where  the  sun  shines  and  the 
rain  descends  and  where  men  eat  bread  in  the  sweat  of 
their  brows,  there  were  bound  to  be  lean  years  as  well  as 
fat  years,  and  that  the  leap  in  the  population  of  the 
United  States  had  immensely  widened  the  circle  of  those 
upon  whom  the  burden  of  periodical  scarcity  must  weigh. 
That  any  large  proportion  of  those  who  dwelt  under  the 
flag  to  which  he  and  they  owed  allegiance  should  rush 
heedlessly,  from  the  pressure  of  temporary  conditions, 
into  ill-considered,  and,  above  all,  anti-Christian  experi- 
ments, would  be,  in  his  mind,  an  evil  of  the  first  magni- 
tude. In  the  preservation  of  the  calmness  and  sane 
balance  of  the  people,  he  saw  the  only  permanent  safe- 
guard of  democratic  institutions. 

Sensing  the   situation  in   advance,  he  felt  that  the 

Church  here  must  be  aroused  to  resist  the  threatened 

danger.    His  position  in   the   Church  in  America  was 

such  that  if  counter  action  against  Socialism  was  to  come, 

he  must  lead  it  in  order  to  give  it  effectiveness.    Pius  IX, 

the  first  Pope  to  come  in  contact  with  modern  Socialism, 



had'condemned  it  both  in  principle  and  in  definite  details. 
Leo  XIII  had  done  the  same  thing,  and  in  his  encyclicals 
Quod  Apostolici  Muneris  and  Rerum  Novarutn  had  set 
forth  in  clear  terms  the  resistance  of  Christianity  to  the 
pure  materialism  which  was  the  professed  ideal  of  the 

In  the  first  of  these  encyclicals,  issued  soon  after  his 
accession  to  the  Pontificate  in  1878,  Leo  declared  that 
"although  the  Socialists,  turning  to  evil  use  the  Gospel 
itself  so  as  to  deceive  more  readily  the  unwary,  have  been 
wont  to  twist  it  to  their  meaning,  still  so  striking  is  the 
disagreement  between  their  criminal  teachings  and  the 
pure  doctrine  of  Christ  that  no  greater  can  exist."  He  set 
forth  that  "equality  among  men  consists  in  this,  that  one 
and  all,  possessing  the  same  nature,  are  called  to  the 
sublime  dignity  of  being  sons  of  God;  and,  moreover,  that 
one  and  the  same  end  being  set  before  all,  each  and  every 
one  has  to  be  judged  according  to  the  same  laws,  and  to 
have  punishments  or  rewards  meted  out  according  to  in- 
dividual deserts.  There  is,  however,  an  inequality  of 
right  and  authority  which  emanates  from  the  Author  of 
nature  Himself." 

He  declared  that  "the  State,  like  the  Church,  should 
form  one  body  comprising  many  members,  some  excelling 
others  in  rank  and  importance,  but  all  alike  necessary  to 
one  another  ahd  solicitous  for  the  common  welfare." 

The  encyclical  Rerum  Novarum  was  the  one  in  which 
Leo,  while  taking  direct  issue  with  Socialism  as  a  remedy 
for  the  ills  of  the  working  classes,  reflected  and  fully 
endorsed  the  views  of  the  right  of  labor  to  organize  for 
bettering  its  economic  condition  which  had  been  set  forth 


in  Gibbons'  masterly  plea  in  behalf  of  the  Knights  of 
Labor.  He  declared  that  the  Socialists  in  contending 
that  individual  possessions  should  become  the  common 
property  of  all,  to  be  administered  by  the  State  or  muni- 
cipal bodies,  were  "working  on  the  poor  man's  envy  of 
the  rich."  If  the  system  which  they  proposed  were  ac- 
tually set  up,  he  held,  "the  workingman  himself  would 
be  among  the  first  to  suffer."  He  rejected  their  proposals 
as  "emphatically  unjust,  because  they  would  rob  the  law- 
ful possessor,  bring  State  action  into  a  sphere  not  within 
its  competence,  and  create  utter  confusion  in  the  com- 
munity." The  program  of  "class  war"  boldly  proclaimed 
by  the  Socialists  was,  of  course,  the  antithesis  of  the  basis 
of  Christianity  for,  as  Leo  declared: 

"If  Christian  precepts  prevail,  the  respective  classes 
will  not  only  be  united  in  the  bonds  of  friendship,  but 
also  in  those  of  brotherly  love.  For  they  will  under- 
stand and  feel  that  all  men  are  children  of  the  same 
common  Father,  who  is  God;  that  all  have  alike  the  same 
last  end,  which  is  God  himself,  who  alone  can  make 
either  men  or  angels  absolutely  and  perfectly  happy." 

Leo  set  forth  that  "private  ownership  is  in  accordance 
with  the  law  of  nature."  He  declared  that  the  Socialists' 
plan  "would  throw  open  the  door  to  envy,  to  mutual 
invective,  and  to  discord,"  adding: 

"The  sources  of  wealth  themselves  would  run  dry, 
for  no  one  would  have  any  interest  in  exerting  his 
talents  or  his  industry;  and  that  ideal  equality  about 
which  they  entertain  pleasant  dreams,  would  be  in  reality 
the  leveling  down  of  all  to  a  like  condition  of  misery  and 


Pius  X  had  followed  Leo  in  condemning  Socialism. 
The  philosophers  and  theologians  of  the  Church  upheld 
the  view  of  the  Pontiffs  unanimously,  as  did  experts  of 
the  Catholic  laity  on  economics  and  sociology.  Their 
primary  view  was  that  there  was  an  antagonism  between 
Christianity  and  the  principle  of  Socialism.  In  every 
Catholic  country  they  found  Socialism  anti-Christian  in 
both  theory  and  practise;  and  they  held  that  convincing 
evidence  of  this  was  afforded  by  the  utterances  of  the 
organs  and  speakers  who  spread  the  propaganda  of  the 
new  cult. 

No  Socialist  could  have  been  animated  by  a  greater  de- 
sire to  uplift  the  working  classes  than  Gibbons;  but  in 
starting  out  to  seek  remedies,  he  took  the  road  leading  to 
God,  and  the  Socialist,  in  his  eyes,  took  the  road  leading 
away  from  God.  He  did  not  wish  to  condemn,  of  course, 
all  the  views  which  some  Socialists  expressed,  but  the 
fundamental,  subversive  doctrines  of  Marxism  held  by 
most  American  Socialists  appalled  him  as  the  negation 
of  Divine  law,  justice  and  reason.  He  had  shown  himself 
ready  to  defend,  against  the  most  powerful  opposition, 
the  right  of  labor  to  combine  for  its  protection,  and  he 
had  advocated  legislation  that  would  safeguard  labor's 
interests.  This  predisposed  him  all  the  more  to  solicitude 
in  saving  the  workingman  from  destroying  the  fruits  of 
the  struggle  in  labor's  behalf  by  wandering  off  in  pursuit 
of  impractical  remedies  which  invoked  its  name. 

Besides,  he  suspected  that,  so  far  as  America  was  con- 
cerned, many  propagandists  of  Socialism  used  it  as  a  mask 
behind  which  to  hide  a  sullen  hostility  to  the  institutions 
of  the  United  States.     For  many  years  after  Socialism 


had  become  a  political  force  in  Europe  it  had  gained  but 
the  slenderest  foothold  of  importance  in  the  United 
States.  Not  until  1889  was  the  Socialist-Labor  Party- 
organized  at  Chicago,  and  its  first  Presidential  candidate 
was  put  forward  in  the  election  in  1892.  In  that  year  the 
party  could  command  only  21,164  votes  out  of  the  mil- 
lions of  electors  by  whose  suffrages  Mr.  Cleveland  was 
chosen.  Four  years  later,  it  was  again  in  the  field  with  a 
candidate  for  President  who  received  36,274  votes. 
With  the  birth  of  the  Social  Democracy  of  America  in 
1897,  which  absorbed  a  considerable  portion  of  the  So- 
cialist-Labor Party,  the  Socialist  Party  as  it  has  since 
been  known  in  the  United  States  came  into  being.  In 
the  Presidential  election  of  1900  the  Social-Democratic 
Party  poHed  87,814  votes,  and  the  Socialist-Labor  Party 
39,739.  Despite  the  large  proportionate  increase  in  this 
showing  of  strength,  there  was  nothing  particularly  dis- 
concerting in  the  figures.  But  when  the  Socialists  polled 
402,283  votes  in  the  election  of  1904,  Gibbons  read  the 
signs  of  the  times  and  prepared  to  throw  the  whole  force 
of  the  Church  against  the  further  progress  of  the  move- 

It  was  evident  to  him  that  at  last  the  Socialists  had 
become  the  nucleus  of  extreme  discontent  in  the  United 
States,  as  well  as  elsewhere,  and  this  meant  more  than  he 
or  any  other  man  could  fathom.  Both  his  duty  to  religion 
and  his  duty  to  his  country,  it  appeared  to  him,  impelled 
him  to  summon  the  most  powerful  influence  available  in 
order  to  stifle  the  movement  before  it  could  attain  a  de- 
gree of  strength  which  might  be  considered  a  formidable 
obstacle  to  the  orderly  progress  of  America. 


He  was  not  unmindful  that  there  was  an  element  of 
support  for  the  movement  from  native  Americans,  but  he 
saw  with  misgivings  that  the  great  majority  of  its  adher- 
ents in  this  country  were  men  of  foreign  birth  who  had 
been  disappointed  in  illusions  cherished  in  their  imagina- 
tive minds  about  the  meaning  of  that  equality  of  oppor- 
tunity which  was  the  American  ideal.  Seeing  still  with 
European  eyes,  herded  together  by  force  of  circumstances, 
which  Gibbons  deplored,  with  men  of  their  own  kind  in 
the  larger  cities  of  America,  they  abated  none  of  the  re- 
sentment against  existing  conditions  which  they  had 
felt  in  their  diverse  home  lands. 

Gibbons,  as  always  in  setting  out  to  accomplish  a  large 
object,  seized  the  opportune  time.  Thoughts  of  the 
growth  of  Socialism  filled  his  mind  as  preparations  were 
made  to  celebrate  in  1906  the  centenary  of  the  laying  of 
the  cornerstone  of  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  and  the  twen- 
ty-fifth anniversary  of  his  accession  to  the  archbishopric. 
His  own  anniversary  was  on  October  3,  1902,  and  he  had 
been  urged  in  the  early  part  of  that  year  to  consent  to 
an  imposing  celebration  of  the  event  in  conformity  with 
the  custom  of  the  Church.  To  be  the  central  figure  in 
another  demonstration  at  which  praise  would  be  showered 
upon  him  by  no  means  accorded  with  his  wishes.  He  felt 
that  his  share  of  such  things  had  already  been  too  much, 
not  knowing  that  the  greatest  of  them,  despite  his  own 
desires,  were  still  to  come. 

In  his  humility  he  wished  to  put  aside  thoughts  of 
self,  lest  his  mind  be  diverted  from  the  intense  striving 
which  seemed  always  to  lead  him  on,  no  less  at  the  age  of 
sixty-eight  years  than  in  his  earlier  days.    How  to  avoid 


a  celebration  in  1902  without  offending  many  who  wished 
to  do  him  honor  was  indeed  a  problem  of  no  little  diffi- 
culty; but  at  last  he  had  a  thought  that  solved  it.  He 
would  combine  his  silver  jubilee  as  Archbishop  with  the 
centenary  of  his  dearly  loved  Cathedral,  which  he  had 
come  to  feel  was  a  part  of  himself.  Reluctantly  his  plan 
was  accepted  by  those  who  had  been  eager  to  make  a 
great  fete  of  his  jubilee;  but  when  the  date  of  the  Cathe- 
dral centenary  drew  near,  it  was  found  that  he  had  care- 
fully eliminated  his  own  personality  from  the  program. 

It  was  fitting  that  Gibbons  should  speak  through  others 
at  the  celebration  itself,  and  he  delivered  his  own  mes- 
sage in  advance  of  that  event.  Preaching  in  the  Cathedral 
February  4,  1906,  he  declared  his  position  and  that  of 
the  Church  with  regard  to  Socialism  in  a  manner  which 
riveted  the  attention  of  the  nation.  Inequality  of  rank, 
station  and  wealth,  he  said,  were  inevitable.  The  much- 
discussed  statement  in  the  Declaration  of  Independence 
that  "all  men  are  created  equal,"  he  interpreted  to  mean 
that  all  men  are  subject  to  the  same  political  and  moral 
laws;  that  all  enjoy  the  same  air  and  rain  and  sunshine 
of  heaven  and  that  all  are  equal  before  the  law.  He  ex- 
claimed : 

"The  most  mischievous  and  dangerous  individual  to  be 
met  with  in  the  community  is  the  demagogue,  who  is 
habitually  sowing  broadcast  the  seeds  of  discontent 
among  the  people.  He  is  disseminating  the  baneful  doc- 
trines of  Socialism,  which  would  bring  all  men  down  to 
a  dead  level,  would  paralyze  industry  and  destroy  all 
healthy  competition.  .  .  .  He  has  not  the  capacity  to 
discern  that  after  all  due  allowance  is  made  for  human 


energy,  this  varied  condition  of  society  must  result  from 
a  law  of  life  established  by  an  overruling  Providence." 

In  studying  the  material  world,  he  said,  he  had  been 
deeply  impressed  to  observe  that  all  the  works  of  God 
were  marked  with  the  stamp  of  variety  and  inequality. 
The  Almighty  never  cast  any  two  creatures  in  the  same 
mold.    He  continued : 

"Ascending  from  the  natural  to  the  spiritual  world, 
from  the  order  of  nature  to  the  order  of  grace,  we  know 
there  is  not  only  variety,  but  that  there  are  also  grades 
of  distinction  among  the  angels  in  heaven.  The  angelic 
Hierarchy  is  composed  of  nine  distinct  choirs.  There  are 
angels  and  archangels,  thrones  and  dominations,  princi- 
palities and  powers,  virtues,  cherubim  and  seraphim. 
These  angelic  hosts  ascend  in  rank,  one  above  the  other. 
One  order  of  angels  excels  in  sublimity  of  intelligence,  or 
in  intensity  of  love,  or  in  the  dignity  of  the  mission  as- 
signed to  them. 

"And,  in  like  manner,  God  is  unequal  in  the  distribu- 
tion of  his  graces  to  mankind.  He  gives  in  large  measure 
to  one  and  in  less  measure  to  another.  To  one  He  grants 
five  talents,  to  another  He  grants  two,  and  to  another  He 
gives  one  talent.  When  the  Divine  Husbandman  hires 
His  laborers  to  work  in  His  vineyard,  He  recompenses 
those  who  labored  but  one  hour  as  much  as  He  does  those 
'who  have  borne  the  burden  of  the  day  and  the  heat.' 
The  reward  is  altogether  disproportioned  to  the  toil.  If 
you  complain  of  God's  discrimination,  Christ  will  answer 
you:  'My  friend,  I  do  thee  no  wrong.  Take  what  is 
thine  and  go  thy  way.  Is  it  not  lawful  for  me  to  do  what 
I  will?  Is  thine  eye  evil  because  I  am  good?  What 
claim  have  you  on  my  justice?    Is  not  all  that  you  pos- 


sess  of  nature  or  of  grace  the  gratuitous  gift  of  my 
bounty^'  .  .  . 

"Nevertheless,  among  God's  elect  there  is  no  jealousy 
or  discontent.  Those  who  enjoy  a  high  grade  of  bliss  do 
not  look  with  disdain  on  their  inferiors;  and  those  who 
are  in  a  lower  grade  of  felicity  do  not  envy  those  above 
them.  All  are  happy  and  contented,  and  praise  the  God 
of  bounty  for  his  gratuitous  mercies. 

"There  is  a  tendency  in  our  nature  to  chafe  under 
authority.  Thomas  Paine  published  a  well-known  work 
on  The  Rights  of  Man.'  He  had  nothing  to  say  on  the 
rights  of  God  and  the  duties  of  man.  A  certain  clergy- 
man wrote  a  volume  some  years  ago  on  'The  Rights  of 
the  Clergy.'  From  the  beginning  to  the  end  of  the  work 
he  said  nothing  on  the  duties  and  obligations  of  the 
clergy.  The  majority  of  mankind  are  so  intent  on  their 
rights  that  they  have  no  consideration  for  their  responsi- 
bilities. If  all  of  us  had  a  deep  sense  of  our  sacred  duties, 
we  should  not  fail  to  come  by  our  rights." 

The  surroundings  under  which  this  dominant  note  of 
the  Cathedral  celebration  was  amplified  at  the  event  it- 
self on  Sunday,  April  29,  were  such  as  to  give  it  the  ut- 
most force  as  a  declaration  by  the  Catholic  Church  in 
America.  Archbishop  Falconio,  who  had  succeeded  Mar- 
tinelli  as  Papal  Delegate,  nine  other  Archbishops,  fifty- 
six  Bishops,  four  Abbots  and  about  eight  hundred  priests 
assembled  at  the  fountain  head  of  the  mother  See.  Arch- 
bishop Glennon,  the  gifted  head  of  the  archdiocese  of  St. 
Louis,  preaching  at  the  service  of  pontifical  vespers  on 
that  day,  voiced  the  thoughts  of  all  that  gathering  of 
leaders  when  he  said: 

"The  social  fabric  appears  today  to  be  in  imminent 
danger,  because  old  principles  are  ignored  and  old  founda- 


tions  are  attacked.  What  was  held  as  law,  is  regarded 
now  as  injustice;  what  was  held  as  government,  is  now 
deemed  tyranny.  It  were  folly  to  deny  that  the  shadow 
of  Socialism  is  hanging  over  the  land,  and,  while  learned 
men  are  busy  pointing  out  its  unreasonableness,  its  injus- 
tice, its  lack  of  feasibility,  the  shadow  deepens.  And  yet 
we  fear  not.  The  Church  has  a  message  for  these  com- 
ing years.  Standing  by  that  Cross,  the  Church  would 
teach  an  equality  that  mere  forms  of  poverty  and  wealth 
could  not  affect." 

Archbishop  Ryan,  of  Philadelphia,  the  preacher  at  the 
Pontifical  Mass  with  which  the  celebration  was  opened, 
dealt  with  the  general  subject  of  social  discontent  from 
another  angle,  by  freely  admitting  the  existence  of  seri- 
ous evils  in  America  which  needed  to  be  corrected,  and 
in  the  correction  of  which  Catholics  were  ready  to  share 
fully.    He  said : 

"We  justly  laud  the  institutions  and  spirit  of  our  coun- 
try, but  indiscriminate  praise  is  no  evidence  of  genuine, 
rational  patriotism.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  often  danger- 
ous and  holds  out  false  security.  .  .  .  Marvelous  as  has 
been  our  progress  in  a  single  century,  there  is  the  greater 
need  to  preserve  what  we  have  gained  and  to  correct 
where  we  have  been  deficient.  Some  have  stated,  and 
with  a  show  of  reason,  that  our  leading,  radical  fault  has 
been,  and  is,  love  of  money,  amounting  to  national  ava- 
rice, and  our  eagerness  in  both  the  natural  and  religious 
order  should  be  directed  to  neutralize  or,  at  least,  to  mod- 
erate this  tendency. 

"But  I  can  not  believe  that  love  of  money  is  the  pre- 
dominant fault  of  the  American  people.  They  are  too 
noble  and  generous  a  people  to  be  a  nation  of  misers. 
They  freely  give  what  they  freely  get,  and  are  often  prod- 
igal in  their  generosity.     No,  I  believe  that  ambition, 


pride  and  inordinate  independence  and  self-reliance  are 
our  most  dangerous  foes.  Humility  is  becoming  a  name 
for  pious  weakness,  and  ambition  is  no  longer  a  sin.  The 
desire  to  be  unknown  is  considered  foolishness.  .  .  . 

"There  are  three  great  and  increasing  evils  in  our  day — 
one  affecting  the  individual ;  the  second,  the  family,  and 
the  third,  the  state.  I  mean  suicide,  divorce  and  com- 
munism, leading  to  anarchy." 

Gibbons  confined  his  own  part  in  the  main  celebration 
to  felicitations  upon  the  progress  of  the  Catholic  faith 
during  the  century  which  had  elapsed  since  the  corner- 
stone of  the  Cathedral  had  been  laid.  The  Pope  had  con- 
veyed his  share  of  these  felicitations  in  a  letter  ^  sent  for 
the  occasion,  which  read : 

"To  OUR  Beloved  Son,  James  Gibbons, 

"Archbishop  of  Baltimore^  Cardinal  Priest  of  the  Title 
of  St.  Mary,  across  the  Tiber: 

"Beloved  son,  health  and  Apostolic  benediction. 

"When  the  first  Archbishop  of  Baltimore,  one  hundred 
years  ago,  laid  the  corner-stone  of  the  Cathedral,  he  laid, 
we  may  truly  say,  the  foundation  upon  which  the  Church 
of  America  was  to  rise  to  its  full  and  glorious  height. 
For,  whether  we  consider  the  ever  increasing  number  of 
priests  ordained  within  its  walls,  the  Bishops  there  conse- 
crated, the  national  councils  there  celebrated  or  the  vari- 
ous magnificent  solemnities  or  ecclesiastical  functions 
which  it  has  witnessed,  all  have  happily  found,  as  it  were, 
their  home  in  the  Cathedral  of  Baltimore. 

"Happily,  we  say,  and  ever  with  the  promise  of  better 
things,  as  is  proven  by  the  extension  of  the  Hierarchy ;  by 
the  growth  of  the  Catholic  population;  by  the  peaceful 

*  Cathedral  Archives,  Baltimore. 


state  of  religion,  your  steadfast  union  with  the  See  of 
Rome  and  by  the  manifold  consolations  which  our  heart 
has  gathered  from  your  achievements.  Hence,  we  deem 
it  worthy  of  our  highest  approval  that  you  propose  to 
commemorate  with  general  rejoicing  so  signal  an  event. 
We  need  not  tell  you  with  what  sentiments  of  good  will 
and  of  heartfelt  interest  we  share  in  this  celebration. 
You  are  all  aware  that  we  have  always  most  ardently 
adopted  and  are  now  equally  eager  to  adopt  whatsoever 
may  avail  to  enhance  the  honor  of  our  religion  among  the 
American  people. 

"Our  eagerness  herein  is  the  greater  because  we  are  sure 
that  you  will  respond,  with  common  accord  and  endeavor, 
to  the  invitations  which  we,  prompted  by  the  memory  of 
what  you  have  accomplished  for  religion,  extend  to  you 
on  this  timely  and  joyous  occasion  in  urging  the  American 
people  to  still  greater  efforts  in  behalf  of  our  Catholic 
faith.  This  exhortation  we  repeat  in  all  earnestness, 
knowing  full  well  that  our  words  must  aim  not  only  at 
advancing  the  cause  of  religion,  but  also  at  furthering  the 
public  weal.  Intent,  therefore,  as  you  now  are,  upon  ex- 
tolling the  sacred  memories  of  your  forefathers,  and  set- 
ting forth  the  glories  of  your  faith,  we  offer  you  our  sin- 
cere congratulations  and  bestow  upon  you  the  praise  that 
you  fully  deserve,  both  by  your  zeal  in  organizing  this 
public  celebration  and  by  the  habitual  attitude  of  mind 
therein  displayed.  You  manifest,  indeed,  a  temper  that 
we  ardently  desire  to  see  cultivated  by  all  Catholics — a 
temper,  namely,  which  holds  within  itself,  strong  and  full 
of  promise,  the  hope  of  the  future. 

"Right  joyously,  then,  we  express  our  wishes  for  the 
prosperity  of  your  churches  and  the  success  of  this  cen- 
tenary observance.  At  the  same  time,  as  a  pledge  of 
heavenly  graces  and  a  token  of  our  deep  affection,  we 
impart  most  lovingly  our  Apostolic  benediction  to  you, 


the    Bishops,    the    clergy    and    the    whole    American 

"Given  at  St.  Peter's,  Rome,  on  the  second  day  of 
March,  1906,  in  the  third  year  of  our  pontificate. 

"Pius  P.  P.  X." 

Although  the  Cardinal  had  sought  to  efface  himself 
from  the  festivities,  he  was  not  able  to  do  so  altogether. 
At  a  dinner  which  was  given  at  St.  Mary's  Seminary  in 
honor  of  the  visiting  prelates,  the  Papal  Delegate  con- 
veyed to  him  the  warmest  congratulations  upon  his  silver 
jubilee,  expressing  the  hope  that  he  might  long  be  spared 
to  continue  his  work  for  humanity. 

On  the  evening  of  the  next  day  there  was  a  reception 
to  the  Hierarchy  by  Cardinal  Gibbons  and  the  clergy  of 
the  archdiocese  at  a  large  public  hall.  Governor  War- 
field,  of  Maryland,  and  Mayor  Timamus,  of  Baltimore, 
friends  and  supporters  of  Gibbons,  lent  their  presence  to 
the  event.  Bishop  Donahue,  of  Wheeling,  who  had  spent 
years  as  a  priest  in  Gibbons'  household,  spoke  from  inti- 
mate and  discriminating  knowledge  when  in  an  address 
at  the  meeting  he  said  of  the  Cardinal : 

"His  life  and  achievements  have  shed  undying  luster 
on  the  Church  for  all  time.  He  is  a  Prince  of  the  Church; 
he  is  also  one  of  the  plainest  and  most  democratic  citi- 
zens of  the  land.  His  mind  can  rise  to  and  grasp  mo- 
mentous questions  of  Church  and  State,  yet  with  children 
he  can  be  a  child  in  playfulness  and  glee.  With  the  wise, 
he  is  wise;  with  the  simple,  simple;  simple  in  his  tastes 
and  habits  of  life,  simple  in  demeanor,  and  a  friend  to 
the  poor  and  helpless.  I  doubt  if  ever  churchman  trod 
the  soil  of  America  who  has  endeared  himself  to  more 


None  knew  better  than  that  large  gathering  of  Bishops 
that  Gibbons  was  wise  with  the  wise  and  simple  with  the 
simple.  He  had  been  to  them  leader  and  friend  for 
more  than  twenty-five  years.  The  thoughts  that  rose  in 
their  minds  upon  the  centenary  of  the  Cathedral,  the 
seat  of  the  mother  See,  the  St.  Peter's  of  the  United 
States,  were  mingled  with  thoughts  of  the  leader 
without  fear  and  without  reproach  who  had  given  to  the 
Church  a  new  aspect  in  the  eyes  of  the  American  people, 
who  towered  now  among  the  great  figures  of  the  world, 
statesman  and  churchman,  exemplar  of  the  religious  vir- 
tues and  of  the  civic  virtues,  who  had  led  the  Church  in 
America  out  of  the  wilderness  of  distrust  and  even  open 
hostility  in  which  she  had  wandered  for  so  many  years 
and  brought  her  at  last  into  the  promised  land  where  she 
stood  revealed  before  all  the  people  in  her  own  light,  the 
light  in  which  Gibbons  had  exhibited  her  when  so  many 
others  had  failed  to  do  so.  Acknowledging  what  he  had 
done,  they  loved  him  even  more  for  what  he  was ;  and  on 
best  no  barrier  interposed  to  prevent  them  from  hailing 
best  no  barrier  interposed  to  prevent  them  from  hailing 
him  with  one  voice  as  the  preeminent  and  revered  citizen. 


The  passage  of  the  French  Law  of  Associations,  and 
subsequent  agitation  and  legislation  which  ended  in  the 
rupture  of  the  Concordat,  excited  deep  feelings  on  the 
part  of  Catholics  in  the  United  States.  They  could  not, 
as  churchmen,  forget  the  ardent  and  fruitful  help  of 
France  any  more  than  as  citizens  they  could  forget  La- 
fayette and  Rochambeau.  In  the  early  days  of  European 
civilization  on  the  American  continent,  Jesuits  from  the 
banks  of  the  Seine  and  the  Loire  had  carried  the  Cross  up 
and  down  the  new  world ;  and  when  the  Cross,  no  longer 
a  wanderer,  pointed  to  Heaven  from  the  tops  of  thou- 
sands of  churches,  Cheverus  and  Flaget  and  Dubois  and 
Dubourg  and  many  other  Bishops  and  clergy  from  France 
had  helped  to  lay  the  foundations  of  religion  in  the  youth- 
ful nation.  Now  the  Church  of  France  was  in  tears ;  and 
Americans  who  pondered  on  the  bitter  trials  through 
which  she  was  passing  could  not  avoid  contrasting  them 
with  the  peaceful  relations  between  religion  and  the 
State  in  their  own  country,  and  deploring  that  contrast. 

So  strongly  were  the  American  Bishops  moved  that,  at 
their  meeting  held  in  the  spring  of  1906  at  the  Catholic 
University,  a  short  time  before  the  celebration  of  the 
Baltimore  Cathedral  centenary,  they  had  decided  to  ad- 
dress a  letter  to  the  French  Catholics,  and  requested  Car- 



dinal  Gibbons,  their  presiding  officer,  to  prepare  it.  He 
drew  it  up  while  the  greater  assemblage  of  prelates  was 
in  Baltimore,  and  sent  it  to  Cardinal  Richard,  Arch- 
bishop of  Paris,  as  the  principal  representative  of  the 
Church  in  France.    He  wrote : 

"We  would  profit  by  the  presence  of  so  many  distin- 
guished prelates  to  offer  to  our  brethren  in  France,  not  so 
happily  circumstanced  as  we,  an  unequivocal  testimony 
of  our  sympathy  and  our  sincere  wishes  for  the  welfare 
of  the  Church  of  France.  .  .  .  We  are  compelled  to  as- 
sure you  of  the  keen  regret  which  we  feel  at  sight  of  the 
bitter  persecution  to  which  the  Church  of  France  is  sub- 
jected— a  persecution  which,  particularly  during  the  last 
quarter  of  a  century,  has  been  marked  by  exceptional  and 
vexatious  legislation.  To  crown  these  irritating  enact- 
ments, the  agreement  which  for  a  century  bound  the  eld- 
est daughter  of  the  Church  to  Rome,  has  been,  contrary 
to  all  the  requirements  of  justice  and  honor,  ruthlessly 
dissolved.  The  bloody  conflicts  immediately  consequent 
upon  the  first  application  of  this  notorious  law  sanction- 
ing the  separation  of  Church  and  state,  so  recently  and 
peremptorily  condemned  by  Pius  X,  do  but  forecast  dis- 
turbances of  a  more  serious  character.  However,  such 
misfortunes  are  bound  to  enlist  in  your  behalf  the  sym- 
pathy and  prayers  of  all  true  children  of  the  Church.  .  .  . 

"It  is  difficult  for  minds  accustomed  to  the  complete 
liberty  which  we  enjoy  in  this  country  to  understand  how 
a  civilized  government  can,  in  the  name  of  liberty,  sub- 
ject an  entire  Christian  people  to  the  yoke  of  official 
atheism.  Here,  on  the  contrary,  our  rulers  recognize  that 
religion  is  necessary  for  the  prosperity  of  the  nation. 
While  they  arrogate  to  themselves  no  authority  in  re- 
ligious matters,  thanks  to  the  kindly  feeling  which  ani- 
mates them,  vexed  questions  are  amicably  settled.  To 
illustrate  by  a  single  example,  far  from  enacting  legis- 


lation  hostile  to  the  Church,  disputes  involving  ecclesias- 
tical property  are  decided  by  the  civil  courts  in  conform- 
ity with  her  recognized  laws. 

"If  the  Church  has  the  right  of  protection  because  she 
is  the  truth,  her  progress  requires  only  liberty  worthy  of 
the  name.  This  we  have  fully  and  completely.  We  sin- 
cerely hope  the  Church  of  France  may  soon  enjoy  the 
same  advantage."  ^ 

Cardinal  Richard  expressed  his  profound  gratitude  in 
a  reply  lamenting  the  ordeal  through  which  the  Church 
was  then  passing  in  France,  and  expressing  his  reliance 
upon  God  for  a  happy  issue  from  her  afflictions. 

The  elements  in  control  of  the  French  government  at 
that  time  were  bent  upon  the  execution  of  their  program 
by  their  own  methods,  and  the  wishes  of  American  Cath- 
olics were  of  no  more  avail  than  the  wishes  of  those  in 
Europe.  Gibbons,  in  a  public  statement,^  called  attention 
forcibly  to  some  of  the  excesses  which  were  being  com- 
mitted. He  was  particularly  disturbed  because,  as  he 
declared,  hatred  of  religion  rather  than  love  of  the  repub- 
lic actuated  the  French  anti-clerical  leaders.    He  said : 

"In  France  the  Jacobin  party  is  not  dead.  Its  spirit 
is  as  living  today  as  it  was  in  the  last  decade  of  the 
eighteenth  century.  Its  adherents  hate  God;  they  hate 
Christ;  they  hate  His  religion  as  much  as  their  fathers 
hated  them." 

He  quoted  one  of  the  French  cabinet  ministers  as  hav- 
ing said  in  an  address  to  teachers : 

"The  time  has  come  to  root  up  from  the  minds  of 
French  children  the  ancient  faith,  which  has  served  its 

*  Cathedral  Archives,  Baltimore. 
'Baltimore  Sun,  December  14,  1906. 


purpose,  and  replace  it  with  the  light  of  free  thought.  It 
is  time  to  get  rid  of  the  Christian  idea.  We  have  hunted 
Jesus  Christ  out  of  the  army,  the  navy,  the  schools,  the 
hospitals,  the  asylums  for  the  insane  and  orphans,  and 
the  law  courts,  and  now  we  must  hunt  Him  out  of  the 
State  altogether." 

"What,"  asked  the  Cardinal,  "would  we  Americans 
say  if  a  Cabinet  ofBcer  were  to  propose  this  as  the  great 
aim  of  his  administration*?" 

Gibbons  was  at  that  particular  juncture  a  close  ob- 
server of  the  manner  in  which  the  property  rights  of  the 
Catholic  Church  were  being  readjusted  in  the  Philippines 
and  the  other  islands  recently  separated  from  the  rule  of 
Spain.  He  pointed  out  in  his  statement  the  contrast 
between  the  attitude  of  the  French  government  at  that 
time  toward  ecclesiastical  rights  and  that  of  the  courts 
of  the  United  States,  in  which  the  legal  claims  of  the 
Church  were  fully  respected,  and  a  settlement  was  being 
effected  to  the  satisfaction  of  all. 

The  vigorous  declaration  of  Gibbons  soon  became  cir- 
culated in  France,  where  Premier  Clemenceau  felt  its 
influence  to  such  an  extent  that  he  took  occasion  to  deny 
that  a  member  of  the  cabinet  had  delivered  the  statement 
attributed  to  him  "as  minister,"  although  failing  to  deny 
that  the  statement  had  been  made.  Gibbons  promptly 
cited  the  London  Saturday  Review  ^  as  his  authority,  and 
saw  no  occasion  to  modify  anything  which  he  had  said. 
His  declarations  were  the  signal  for  many  public  pro- 
tests in  this  country  against  the  violent  methods  by  which 
the  French  government  of  that  period  carried  out  its  plans 
for  the  separation  of  Church  and  State. 

*  Review,  August  i8  and  25,  1906. 


No  American  of  his  time  received  so  many  spontaneous 
tributes  of  public  honor  as  Gibbons;  and  it  remained  for 
him  at  the  age  of  seventy-seven  years  to  receive  one  of 
these  which  had  no  precedent.  It  was  on  the  occasion 
of  his  silver  jubilee  as  Cardinal,  and  his  golden  jubilee 
as  priest.  He  had  reached  the  time  of  life  when  he  had 
long  since  been  inclined  to  deprecate  the  paying  of  per- 
sonal honors  to  himself,  and,  indeed,  he  had  interposed 
an  absolute  veto  upon  several  proposals  of  that  kind; 
but  when  he  learned  what  was  contemplated  by  those 
who  prepared  to  mark  the  greatest  of  all  his  jubilees  in 
1911  his  objections  were  silenced,  for,  keen  student  of 
the  history  of  his  country  that  he  was,  he  knew  that  no 
American  churchman,  perhaps  no  American  even  in  pub- 
lic life,  had  ever  been  made  the  object  of  such  a  testimo- 
nial as  was  to  be  given  to  him. 

It  was  decided  to  divide  the  honors  into  two  parts, 
for  did  not  Gibbons  have  a  dual  character  now  in  the 
eyes  of  his  fellow-countrymen?  Was  he  not,  by  the  ac- 
knowledgment of  all,  the  foremost  churchman  who  stood 
among  them,  and  was  he  not  also  the  foremost  citizen 
outside  of  those  holding  the  highest  executive  office?  He 
had  exhibited  in  his  own  person,  as  no  other  man  had 
done,  the  fact  that  the  two  roles  supplemented  each  other 


and  blended  harmoniously  in  one.  Now  that  his  career 
had  covered  a  period  which  spread  out  in  a  long  perspec- 
tive and  was  beginning  to  show  at  last  the  real  propor- 
tions of  the  man,  it  was  felt  that  while  his  jubilee  was 
ecclesiastical,  his  work  had  been  both  ecclesiastical  and 

The  record  of  those  years  so  far  as  their  fruits  related 
solely  to  the  Church  was  wonderful  enough,  and  the  cele- 
bration would  have  recalled  a  great  story  of  battle  and 
victory  if  it  had  been  confined  to  that  aspect  of  Gibbons 
alone ;  but  the  story  of  the  half  century  was  one  that  went 
far  outside  even  the  broad  reach  of  the  Catholic  Church. 
It  was  of  struggles,  sacrifices  and  great  and  lasting  bene- 
fits for  men  everywhere  and  especially  for  men  in  the 
country  for  whose  welfare  Gibbons  had  been  second  to 
none  in  solicitude  and  effective  help. 

So  it  was  determined  by  common  and  even  impulsive 
assent,  as  it  were,  that  there  should  be  two  celebrations, 
one  in  honor  of  Gibbons  the  churchman,  one  in  honor  of 
Gibbons  the  citizen.  Men  of  importance  throughout  the 
country  whose  preoccupations  in  other  directions  might 
have  been  expected  to  preclude  them  from  taking  any 
particular  notice  of  the  plans  suddenly  developed  a  vivid 
interest  in  them  and  a  desire  to  share  in  what  was  to  be 
done.  The  thought,  the  feeling,  the  desire  swept  through- 
out the  country.  Magazines  and  newspapers  began  to 
spread  before  their  readers  at  length  accounts  of  what 
those  years  of  Gibbons  had  meant  to  the  world.  Com- 
mittees were  formed ;  a  bustle  of  preparations,  after  the 
American  fashion  on  such  occasions,  was  begun. 

The  civic  celebration  was  held  first.    Its  scene  was  the 


greatest  public  hall  in  Baltimore,^  one  of  those  built  for 
national  political  conventions  and  other  events  of  high 
importance.  In  that  great  auditorium  20,000  persons 
assembled  on  June  6,  1911,  and  thousands  more  waited 
outside,  inspired  by  the  same  desire  to  show  homage  to  the 
Cardinal  such  as  had  been  shown  to  no  American  church- 
man before. 

It  was  not  the  size  of  the  multitude  which  was  the 
gauge  of  the  real  meaning  of  the  demonstration.  Mr. 
Taft,  President  of  the  United  States,  escorted  Gibbons — 
a  pale,  red-robed  figure — into  the  hall  for  the  honors  that 
were  to  be  heaped  upon  him.  Surrounding  them  as  they 
sat  upon  the  platform  were  the  Vice-President,  Mr. 
Sherman;  the  only  living  ex-President,  Mr.  Roosevelt; 
the  Chief  Justice  of  the  Supreme  Court,  Mr.  White ;  the 
Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  Mr.  Clark ;  the 
ex-Speaker,  Mr.  Cannon;  the  British  Ambassador,  Mr. 
Bryce;  the  Governor  of  Maryland,  Mr.  Crothers;  the 
Mayor  of  Baltimore,  Mr.  Preston;  the  United  States 
Senators  from  Maryland,  Messrs.  Rayner  and  Smith;  the 
members  of  the  House  of  Representatives  from  the  Car- 
dinal's State,  and  a  large  number  of  the  most  prominent 
figures  in  both  houses  of  Congress,  as  well  as  leading  men 
of  the  State  and  city,  without  regard  to  religious  belief. 
Never  had  such  an  assemblage  met  for  a  purpose  of  that 
kind;  never  had  such  a  one  met  on  any  occasion,  except 
at  the  inauguration  of  a  President  of  the  United  States, 
where  official  duty  rather  than  individual  free  will  im- 
pelled attendance. 

No  one  could  scan  the  representation  of  the  nation's 

*The  Fifth  Regiment  Armory. 


leaders,  bound  by  a  common  desire  to  express  the  nation's 
thanks  to  the  object  of  such  great  attentions,  without  be- 
lieving that  Gibbons  was  "first  in  the  hearts  of  his  fel- 
low-countrymen." His  place  was  apart  from  the  politi- 
cal broils  of  that  moment  or  any  other;  both  political 
parties  and  all  elements  of  those  parties  were  represented 
in  the  official  group  that  was  present.  No  thoughts  of 
temporary  circumstance  were  in  the  minds  of  those  men 
in  honoring  one  who  stood  for  the  great  permanent  virtues 
which  all  Americans  admire  and  which  they  like  to  be- 
lieve are  characteristic  of  the  best  that  is  in  them. 

The  evidence  was  overwhelming  that  Gibbons  had  be- 
come a  type  for  the  whole  people.  That  he  was  a  Catho- 
lic did  not  matter  now;  even  that  he  was  a  Cardinal  mat- 
tered not;  for  he  was  the  greatest  single  force  that  had 
broken  down  the  barrier  of  religious  intolerance  in 
America,  and  it  seemed  overthrown  forever  as  an  effec- 
tive force.  The  Civil  War  had  brought  political  union 
and  Gibbons  had  brought  religious  fraternity.  He  was 
the  Lincoln  of  a  new  brotherhood. 

As  the  time  of  the  jubilee  drew  near,  this  unique  trib- 
ute had  been  suggested,  and  its  details  worked  out  in 
large  part  by  Oliver  P.  Baldwin,  managing  editor  of  the 
Baltimore  Sun^  a  newspaper  whose  columns  had  reflected 
during  that  pregnant  half  century  the  labors  and  aspira- 
tions of  the  Cardinal's  life.  The  preparations  were  made 
by  committees  headed  by  Governor  Crothers,  a  Methodist, 
and  Mayor  Preston,  the  superintendent  of  an  Episcopal 
Sunday  school.  The  committees  included  a  number  of 
Catholics,  but  a  majority  of  their  membership  was  com- 
posed of  non-Catholics.    Bishop  Murray,  of  the  Episco- 


pal  diocese  of  Maryland,  was  one  of  the  most  active  in 
the  work  of  organization.  The  whole  aspect  of  the  tribute 
was  non-sectarian  from  beginning  to  end.  For  the  most 
part  the  higher  officials  who  assembled  to  speak  for  the 
whole  country  in  recognizing  the  eminent  services  of  Gib- 
bons were  also  non-Catholics. 

Governor  Crothers,  as  was  fitting  in  the  Cardinal's 
State,  presided  and  spoke  of  the  celebration  as  truly  rep- 
resentative of  Maryland,  in  which  religious  freedom  had 
been  set  up  for  the  first  time  in  the  Western  World.  He 
continued : 

"It  is  a  gathering  embracing  all  religious  denomina- 
tions, without  distinction  or  exception,  assembled  to  do 
honor  to  a  great  standard-bearer  of  religion,  who  repre- 
sents the  highest  purposes  of  Church,  State  and  society. 
While  we  have  assembled  to  honor,  as  with  one  heart,  a 
distinguished  ecclesiastic,  an  incomparable  citizen  and  a 
great  and  good  man,  the  occasion  is,  in  my  mind,  still 
more  significant  as  a  spontaneous  union  of  men  and 
women,  holding  every  religious  and  political  opinion,  to 
tender  the  token  of  their  esteem  and  affection  to  the  head, 
in  America,  of  a  great  Church,  which  has  now  endured 
almost  two  thousand  years,  and  whose  influence  is  as  wide 
as  civilization  itself. 

"We  salute  you,  Cardinal  Gibbons,  as  a  torch-bearer 
in  our  midst  of  religion,  justice  and  patriotism.  We  ac- 
knowledge and  celebrate  before  the  country  and  the  world 
your  lofty  devotion  to  religious  faith  and  purposes,  your 
unfailing  and  ceaseless  activities  in  behalf  of  this  State 
and  Union  and  of  all  their  spiritual  and  material  inter- 
ests, your  encouragement  and  help  in  all  good  aspirations, 
your  wise  and  beneficent  counsels  in  times  of  difficulty 

*Full  reports  of  these  .addresses  were  published  in  a  memorial  volume 
of  the  celebration   (Baltimore,  191 1.) 


and  doubt,  your  elevating  influence  upon  all  the  move- 
ments and  concerns  of  this  your  own  native  land.  The 
State  of  Maryland  tenders  you  its  warmest  and  deepest 
felicitations  and  most  earnestly  wishes  you  many  more 
years  of  life  and  happiness." 

No  one  there  knew  more  of  what  the  Cardinal  had  done 
for  his  country  than  President  Taft.  As  civil  governor 
of  the  Philippines  and  afterwards  as  Secretary  of  War 
having  jurisdiction  over  those  islands,  he  had  been  an 
observer  at  close  range  of  the  immense  practical  service 
which  Gibbons  had  performed  in  readjusting  their  popu- 
lation to  the  new  conditions.  He  had  leaned  upon  the 
Cardinal's  guidance  and  help  in  trying  moments  when  the 
outlook  for  so  radical  a  transformation  in  the  distant 
archipelago  had  seemed  dark  indeed.  Now,  with  every 
problem  solved,  peace  restored  in  the  insular  possessions, 
and  prosperity  beginning  to  blossom  upon  fields  scarred 
recently  by  war,  he  spoke  from  a  full  heart  when  he  said 
of  Gibbons : 

"We  are  here  to  recognize  and  honor  in  him  his  high 
virtues  as  a  patriotic  member  of  our  political  community 
and  one  who  through  his  long  and  useful  life  has  spared 
no  efforts  in  the  cause  of  good  citizenship  and  the  uplift- 
ing of  his  fellow-men. 

"As  American  citizens  we  are  proud  that  his  promi- 
nence in  the  Church  brought  him  twenty-five  years  ago 
the  rank  of  Cardinal.  The  rarity  with  which  this  rank  is 
conferred  in  his  Church  upon  Bishops  and  priests  so  far 
from  Rome  is  an  indication  of  the  position  which  he  had 
won  among  his  fellow-churchmen.  But  what  we  are  es- 
pecially delighted  to  see  confirmed  in  him  and  his  life  is 
the  entire  consistency  which  he  has  demonstrated  between 


earnest  and  single-minded  patriotism  and  love  of  country 
on  the  one  hand  and  sincere  devotion  to  his  Church  on  the 

"One  of  the  tenets  of  his  Church  is  respect  for  consti- 
tuted authority,  and  always  have  we  found  him  on  the 
side  of  law  and  order,  always  in  favor  of  peace  and  good 
will  to  all  men,  always  in  favor  of  religious  tolerance, 
and  always  strong  in  the  conviction  that  complete  free- 
dom in  the  matter  of  religion  is  the  best  condition  under 
which  churches  may  thrive.  With  pardonable  pride  he 
points  to  the  fact  that  Maryland  under  Catholic  control 
was  among  the  first  to  give  complete  religious  toleration. 

"Nothing  could  more  clearly  show  the  character  of  the 
man  whose  jubilee  we  celebrate  than  the  living  testi- 
monial that  this  assembly  is  to  his  value  as  a  neighbor 
in  the  community  of  Baltimore. 

"In  spite  of  the  burden  and  responsibilities  of  his  high 
position  in  the  Church,  he  has  taken  part  in  many 
great  movements  for  the  betterment  of  mankind  and  has 
shown  himself  not  only  a  good  Catholic  in  the  Church 
sense,  but  he  has  been  broadly  catholic  in  the  secular 
sense  of  that  word,  so  that  the  affection  felt  for  him  by 
his  co-religionists  has  spread  to  all  denominations  and  to 
all  the  people,  who  are  quick  to  perceive  a  disinterested 

"That  he  may  long  contmue  active  in  his  present  high 
position,  that  he  may  long  continue  in  secular  movements 
to  take  the  prominent  place  he  has  always  had  in  works 
of  usefulness  is  the  fervent  prayer  of  Catholic  and  Prot- 
estant, of  Jew  and  Christian." 

Roosevelt,  like  Taft,  had  had  recourse  to  the  Cardinal's 
support  and  advice  in  times  of  stress  and  had  come  to 
realize  his  real  measure  as  a  benevolent  power  in  the 
nation.    No  one  of  those  who  sat  with  the  ex-President 


and  who  heard  him  declare  in  his  speech  "I  am  honored — 
we  are  all  honored — that  the  opportunity  has  come  to- 
day to  pay  a  tribute  to  what  is  highest  and  best  in  Ameri- 
can citizenship,  when  we  meet  to  celebrate  this  occasion" 
could  doubt  that  he  was  speaking  the  deliberate  judg- 
ment of  years,  for  he  had  gratefully  expressed  the  same 
views  before.     He  said: 

"Not  only  is  this  gathering  characteristic  of  Maryland, 
but  it  is  characteristic  of  our  great  Union,  it  is  characteris- 
tic of  America,  because  here  in  this  republic,  with  all  of 
our  faults  and  shortcomings — and  we  have  plenty  of 
them — it  is  nevertheless  true  that  we  have  come  nearer 
than  any  other  nation  to  solving  the  difficult  problem  of 
combining  complete  religious  liberty  and  toleration  with 
a  devoutly  religious  feeling  in  the  people  as  a  whole. 

"And  we  meet  this  afternoon  to  do  honor  in  the  name 
of  all  the  American  people,  in  the  name  of  the  American 
nation,  to  you,  because  while  the  American  people  may 
differ  among  themselves  on  questions  of  dogma,  they  are 
a  unit  in  recognizing  what  counts  in  civic  affairs  for  so 
much  more  than  dogma — conduct,  in  the  churchman  as 
in  the  statesman. 

"Friends,  we  read  now  and  then  prophecies  of  woe 
about  the  churches  in  the  future,  complaints  as  to  congre- 
gations growing  smaller,  complaints  as  to  lack  of  belief 
among  the  congregations.  There  will  be  no  trouble  about 
the  future  of  any  American  church  if  that  church  makes 
as  its  cardinal  principle  the  rendering  of  service  to  the 

"No  church  in  the  United  States  will  ever  have  to  de- 
fend itself  as  long  as  those  standing  highest  in  that 
church,  as  well  as  those  under  them,  serve  the  people, 
devote  their  lives  to  the  service  of  the  men  and  women 
round  about  them,  as  you,  Cardinal  Gibbons,  have  de- 


voted  your  life  to  the  service  of  your  fellow-countrymen 
and  countrywomen.  What  we  care  for,  what  we  Ameri- 
cans wish  to  see  in  the  church,  is  service;  what  we  wish 
to  judge  the  man  by  is  his  conduct  and  character. 

"If  the  church  renders  good  service  and  if  the  man  rings 
true  when  we  apply  the  touchstone  of  principle  to  his 
conduct  and  his  character,  then  the  American  people  will 
be  well  content  with  both  church  and  man.  And,  my 
fellow-countrymen,  in  spite  of  all  the  little  things  that 
divide  us,  think  how  blessed  we  are  because  we  are  united 
on  an  occasion  like  this  without  regard  to  past  history  and 
antecedents,  without  regard  to  differences  of  religious  or 
political  belief,  to  honor  a  good  man,  who  in  and  through 
his  church  and  as  a  citizen  of  this  country  has  lived  the 
life  that  a  good  man  should  live. 

"It  was  my  good  fortune  the  other  day  to  attend  a 
meeting  composed  chiefly  of  Protestant  preachers,  where 
I  was  introduced  by  a  Catholic  priest  and  where  we  were 
led  in  prayer  by  a  Jewish  rabbi,  and  now  we  come  to- 
gether, Catholic  and  Protestant,  as  the  President  has  said, 
to  render  honor  to  a  man  who  is  our  fellow-citizen  and 
in  whom  we  all  claim  a  certain  proprietary  right.  And, 
friends,  religious  intolerance  and  bitterness  are  bad 
enough  in  any  country,  but  they  are  inexcusable  in  ours. 

"Our  republic,  mighty  in  its  youth,  destined  to  endure 
for  ages,  will  see  many  Presidents  during  those  ages,  and 
it  will  see  Presidents  who  are  Catholics  as  well  as  Presi- 
dents who  are  Protestants;  Presidents  who  are  Jews  as 
well  as  Presidents  who  are  Gentiles. 

"The  Cardinal  throughout  his  life  has  devoted  himself 
to  the  service  of  the  American  people.  He  has  endeav- 
ored to  work  and  he  has  worked  steadily  in  the  uplifting 
of  the  lowly;  he  has  worked  steadily  to  bring  nearer  the 
day  when  we  should  approximate  better  to  the  rule  of 
justice  and  fair  dealing  as  between  man  and  man.  His 
voice  has  ever  been  raised  on  behalf  of  the  weak  and  the 


downtrodden,  his  hand  ever  stretched  out  toward  those 
who  may  have  slept,  toward  all  those  who  are  in  suffer- 
ing, who  have  suffered  loss  or  were  suffering  pain.  He 
has  fought  for  the  rights  of  the  lowly,  he  has  done  all  that 
he  might  to  bring  nearer  the  day  when  there  should  be 
a  more  complete  reign  of  justice  in  this  land,  and  he  has 
shown  by  his  life  his  realization  of  the  truth  that  justice 
can  come  only  through  law  and  order ;  that  disorder  and 
lawlessness  are  the  negation  of  justice  and  in  the  end 
deal  most  severely  against  the  poor  and  the  lowly. 

"He  has  set  an  example  to  all  of  us  in  public  and  pri- 
vate life,  both  by  that  for  which  he  has  striven  and  the 
way  in  which  he  has  striven  to  achieve  it.  He  has  striven 
for  justice,  he  has  striven  for  fair  dealing  and  he  has 
striven  for  it  in  the  spirit  of  truth,  in  the  spirit  that  has 
no  relation  to  lawlessness  or  disorder,  and  at  the  same 
time  with  the  fullest  recognition  that  law  and  order,  es- 
sential though  they  are,  are  primarily  essential  because 
on  them  as  a  foundation,  and  only  on  them  as  a  founda- 
tion, is  it  possible  to  build  the  great  temple  of  justice  and 
generous  fair  dealing  as  between  man  and  man.  I  am 
honored — we  are  all  honored — that  the  opportunity  has 
come  today  to  pay  a  tribute  to  what  is  highest  and  best 
in  American  citizenship,  when  we  meet  to  celebrate  this 
occasion,  Cardinal  Gibbons." 

Following  the  addresses  of  the  President  and  the  ex- 
President,  speaking  for  the  executive  department  of  the 
government,  present  and  past,  words  which  many  of  their 
predecessors,  had  they  been  alive,  would  have  been  glad 
to  echo,  congratulations  were  presented  to  the  Cardinal 
by  Vice-President  Sherman.  Elihu  Root,  Senator  from 
New  York,  eulogized  Gibbons  in  one  of  his  brilliant 
speeches  as  "the  champion  of  ideals,"  saying: 


"It  is  because  Cardinal  Gibbons  has  illustrated  in  his 
life,  in  his  conduct,  in  his  arduous  labors,  in  his  self-devo- 
tion to  all  good  causes,  all  that  we  would  like  to  have  our 
children  admire  and  follow,  all  that  we  love  to  believe 
our  country  possesses,  that  America,  through  us,  with  sin- 
cerity and  ardor,  honors  him  today.  And  it  is  because 
he  has  been  the  champion  of  ideals,  because  he  is  a  man 
not  only  of  works  but  of  faith,  that  we  who  differ  from 
him  in  dogma,  who  do  not  belong  to  his  Church,  hold  him 
as  in  his  proper  person  illustrating  the  true  union  of 
service  to  State  and  service  to  God,  the  true  union  which 
makes  the  functional  and  ceremonial  union  of  Church 
and  State  unnecessary,  the  union  in  the  heart  of  man 
of  devotion  to  country  and  devotion  to  God. 

"He  is  both  a  great  prelate  and  a  great  citizen,  and 
under  his  guidance  his  Church,  his  people  and  his  follow- 
ers have  always  stood,  and  now  stand,  a  bulwark  against 
atheism  and  anarchy,  against  the  tearing  down  of  those 
principles  of  morality  and  of  government  upon  which  the 
opportunities  of  our  country  depend." 

Speaker  Clark  presented  greetings  from  the  House  of 
Representatives,  saying : 

"Cardinal  Gibbons  stands  here  today  honored  by  the 
entire  American  people,  without  respect  to  politics  or 
religion  or  geographical  lines.  Among  the  men  that  have 
met  here  to  do  him  honor,  I  live  farther  from  this  city 
than  any  other  man  here  except  the  Ambassador  from 
Great  Britain;  and  the  Cardinal's  words  are  quoted  as 
often,  his  influence  is  as  great,  the  affection  for  him  is  as 
strong,  west  of  the  great  river  as  it  is  in  the  city  of  Balti- 

There  was  also  a  voice,  that  of  ex-Speaker  Cannon, 
raised  in  the  name  of  those  who  were  not  identified  with 


any  church,  and  who  honored  the  Cardinal  none  the  less 
for  simple  manhood  than  for  great  accomplishments. 
Mr.  Cannon  said : 

"In  the  United  States  no  man  lives  who  has  led  in 
doing  more  to  bring  men  together  under  the  influence  of 
a  broad  catholic  spirit  in  religion,  in  politics,  than  your- 
self. As  a  member  of  no  church  organization,  one  of  the 
outsiders,  so  far  as  church  membership  is  concerned,  I 
tender  to  you  my  thanks  for  the  great  work  that  you 
have  led  in  doing  and  for  the  great  work  that  is  being 
done,  not  only  in  the  great  republic,  but  in  all  the  world, 
by  those  who  live  under  and  teach  under,  with  a  broad 
catholic  spirit,  the  precepts  of  the  Master." 

Ambassador  Bryce  was  one  of  those  most  amazed  by 
the  extraordinary  grouping  of  official  persons  to  share 
in  honors  in  an  English-speaking  country  to  a  Catholic 
prelate.  The  author  of  "The  Holy  Roman  Empire"  and 
"The  American  Commonwealth"  could  not  fail  to  reflect 
the  historical  background  of  his  thoughts  upon  such  an 
occasion.  In  his  own  country  he  knew  that  such  a  gath- 
ering was  impossible.  It  was  as  if  at  a  great  public  meet- 
ing in  London  in  honor  of  Manning,  the  Prime  Minister 
and  the  former  Prime  Ministers  living,  the  Lord  Chan- 
cellor, the  leaders  in  the  House  of  Lords  and  the  House 
of  Commons  and  the  representation  in  both  bodies  from 
the  city  of  London  as  well  as  the  municipal  officials  of 
London  had  come  together.  Not  only  was  such  a  gather- 
ing impossible  in  honor  of  any  of  England's  Cardinals, 
Mr.  Bryce  knew,  but  it  could  not  be  drawn  together  to 
honor  a  churchman  of  any  faith  in  any  European  coun- 
try.   Of  his  deep  knowledge  of  America,  he  also  knew 


that  it  would  have  been  impossible  in  honor  of  any  other 
churchman  whom  this  country  had  produced.  Mr.  Bryce 
said  in  his  speech : 

"Is  it  not  a  beautiful  sight  when  we  think  of  the  ages 
of  the  past  in  which  those  of  us  who  do  not  belong  to  the 
Church  which  his  Eminence  represents,  and  those  of  us 
who  do  belong  to  that  Church,  were  divided  by  bitter 
antagonisms  and  mutual  suspicions'?  Is  it  not  a  blessed 
thing  that  today  we  can  all  meet  without  distinction  of 
religious  faith  to  pay  honor  to  one  who  illustrates  the 
fundamental  principles  of  Christianity  by  his  life  as  well 
as  by  his  teachings'? 

"There  are  diversities  of  governments  but  the  same 
spirit,  and  in  his  Eminence  and  in  his  life  there  is  drawn 
out  a  beautiful  example  of  those  virtues  which  belong  to 
our  common  Christianity  and  which  we  can  all  honor 

"And  I  may  say  to  you,  citizens  of  the  United  States, 
that  if  there  is  anything  which  we  in  Europe  specially 
honor  and  admire  in  the  great  republic  which  belongs  to 
you,  it  is  this — that  you  have  carried  out  consistently 
from  the  first  that  admirable  principle  with  which  you 
started,  of  making  no  distinction  of  religion  and  by 
teaching  all  men  that  their  Christianity  is  a  part  of  com- 
mon citizenship.  That  is  a  great  lesson  which  has  been 
taught  to  the  world  by  America  and  I  do  not  think  it 
could  be  taught  in  a  more  impressive  form  than  it  is 
taught  when  all  religious  faiths  may  gather  to  honor  an 
illustrious  prelate  of  the  Catholic  Church." 

Mayor  Preston  spoke  of  the  "exalted  character  and 
useful  life"  of  Gibbons,  saying: 

"In  the  name  of  our  city  and  of  this  vast  assemblage 
of  distinguished  guests  and  home  people  I  respectfully 


felicitate  him  upon  this  recognition  by  his  fellow-citizens 
of  his  life  and  labors." 

Notwithstanding  the  high  station  of  the  official  group 
around  him,  such  had  been  the  life  of  Gibbons  that,  in  a 
considerable  degree,  he  was  amid  personal  friends  and 
familiar  associates.  Perhaps  this  tended  to  lessen  the 
strain  which  any  man  might  have  felt  when  the  time 
came  to  respond  to  the  eulogies  of  which  he  had  been 
the  object.  No  one,  however  great  his  experience  and 
habit  of  poise  on  public  occasions,  could  have  failed  to  be 
swept  by  thoughts  of  the  meaning  of  such  an  event  to 
him.  An  extreme  paleness  of  the  countenance  and  a 
slight  wavering  of  the  voice  were  the  only  outward  evi- 
dences which  he  gave  of  the  tension  that  he  must  have 

Besides,  as  he  rose  to  speak  and  the  great  hall  resound- 
ed with  acclamations  which  in  ruder  ages  might  have  been 
bestowed  upon  a  military  hero  returning  from  the  con- 
quest of  an  empire,  he  beheld  in  the  scene  around  him 
justification  of  his  life-long  faith  in  the  people  among 
whom  his  lot  had  been  cast.  He  whose  trust  in  the  mis- 
sion of  the  nation  had  been  shown  in  the  anguish  of  war, 
the  dark  hours  of  labor  riots,  the  scandals  of  polluted 
politics  and  the  flames  of  prejudice  concerning  religion 
could  not  but  feel  the  vindication  of  the  great  aims  which 
had  inspired  his  career. 

He  spoke  simply  as  he  always  did  upon  occasions  per- 
sonal in  their  nature,  but  he  spoke  thoughts  that  had 
gripped  him  throughout  the  long  years  and  never  more 
strongly  than  at  that  moment;  testifying  to  his  faith  in 


his  country,  to  the  essentially  religious  nature  of  the 
American  people,  to  his  eminent  satisfaction  with  the 
results  of  the  conditions  under  which  Church  and 
State  existed  in  America,  to  his  unfailing  confidence 
in  the  perpetuity  of  the  political  institutions  which 
he  had  done  so  much  to  uphold.  His  address  was 
as  follows: 

"I  am  filled  with  emotions  of  gratitude  by  this  extra- 
ordinary manifestation  on  the  part  of  my  fellow-citizens, 
without  distinction  of  race  or  religion  or  condition  of  life, 
and  I  am  overwhelmed  with  confusion  by  the  unmerited 
encomiums  which  have  been  pronounced  by  the  President 
of  the  United  States,  the  Vice-President,  the  former  Pres- 
ident, the  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  the 
former  Speaker,  Senator  Root,  the  Ambassador  of  Great 
Britain,  the  Governor  of  Maryland  and  the  Mayor  of 

"Gentlemen,  you  have  portrayed  your  subject  not,  I 
fear,  as  he  is,  but  as  he  should  be.  But  your  portrait  is 
so  attractive  to  me  that  it  shall  be  my  endeavor  to  re- 
semble it  more  and  more  every  day  of  the  few  years  that 
remain  to  me.  One  merit  only  can  I  truly  claim  regard- 
ing my  civic  life,  and  that  is,  an  ardent  love  for  my  native 
country  and  her  political  institutions.  Ever  since  I  en- 
tered the  sacred  ministry  my  aim  has  been  to  make  those 
over  whom  I  exerted  any  influence  not  only  more  upright 
Christians,  but  also  more  loyal  citizens;  for  the  most 
faithful  Christian  makes  the  best  citizen. 

"I  consider  the  Republic  of  the  United  States  one  of 
the  most  precious  heirlooms  ever  bestowed  on  mankind 
down  the  ages,  and  that  it  is  the  duty  and  should  be  the 
delight  of  every  citizen  to  strengthen  and  perpetuate  our 
Government  by  the  observance  of  its  laws  and  by  the 
integrity  of  his  private  life.     'Righteousness,'  says  the 


Book  of  Proverbs,  'exalteth  a  nation,  but  sin  is  a  reproach 
to  the  people.' 

"If  our  Government  is  destined  to  be  enduring  it  must 
rest  on  the  eternal  principles  of  justice,  truth  and  right- 
eousness, and  these  principles  must  have  for  their  sanction 
the  recognition  of  a  Supreme  Being  who  created  all  things 
by  His  power,  who  governs  them  by  His  wisdom  and 
whose  superintending  Providence  watches  over  the  affairs 
of  nations  and  of  men. 

"When  the  f ramers  of  our  immortal  Constitution  were 
in  session,  Benjamin  Franklin  complained  to  his  col- 
leagues of  the  small  progress  they  had  made  after  several 
weeks  of  deliberation.  He  used  these  memorable  words: 
'We  have  spent  many  days  in  fruitless  discussion.  We 
have  been  groping  in  the  dark  because  we  have  not  sought 
light  from  the  Father  of  Light  to  illumine  our  under- 
standing. I  have  lived,'  he  continued,  'for  many  years, 
and  the  longer  I  live  the  more  convincing  proofs  I  have 
that  God  governs  the  affairs  of  men.  And  if  a  sparrow 
can  not  fall  to  the  ground  without  His  notice,  is  it  prob- 
able that  an  empire  can  rise  without  His  aid  and  coopera- 
tion*? We  are  told  in  the  same  sacred  writings  that 
unless  the  Lord  build  the  house,  he  laboreth  in  vain 
who  buildeth  it.' 

"Thank  God,  the  words  of  Franklin  did  not  fall  on 
barren  soil.  They  have  borne  fruit.  Our  Government 
from  its  dawn  to  the  present  time  has  been  guided  by 
Christian  ideals.  It  has  recognized  the  existence  of  a 
superintending  Providence.  This  is  evident  from  the 
fact  that  our  presidents,  from  George  Washington  to 
William  Howard  Taft,  have  almost  invariably  invoked 
the  aid  of  our  heavenly  Father  in  their  inaugural  proc- 
lamations. Both  Houses  of  Congress  are  opened  with 
prayer.  The  Christian  Sabbath  is  recognized  and  ob- 
served throughout  the  land.  The  President  of  the  United 
States  issues  an  annual  proclamation,  inviting  his  fellow- 


citizens  to  assemble  in  their  respective  houses  of  worship 
and  thank  the  Almighty  for  the  blessings  vouchsafed  to 
us  as  a  nation. 

"It  is  true,  indeed,  that  there  is  no  official  union  of 
Church  and  State  in  this  country.  But  we  must  not  infer 
from  this  that  there  is  any  antagonism  between  the  civil 
and  religious  authorities.  Far  from  it,  Church  and  State 
move  on  parallel  lines.  They  mutually  assist  one  an- 
other. The  State  holds  over  the  spiritual  rulers  the  segis 
of  its  protection  without  interfering  with  the  sacred  and 
God-given  rights  of  conscience.  And  the  Church  on  her 
part  helps  to  enforce  the  civil  laws  by  moral  and  religious 

"I  fear  that  we  do  not  fully  realize  and  are  not  duly 
grateful  for  the  anxious  cares  with  which  our  Chief  Mag- 
istrate and  the  heads  of  the  co-ordinate  branches  of  the 
Government  are  preoccupied  in  the  discharge  of  their 
official  duties.  And  these  cares  are  the  price  which  is 
paid  for  our  domestic  peace  and  comfort  and  the  tran- 
quillity of  the  commonwealth.  When  the  traveler  in 
mid-ocean  is  buffeted  by  the  waves  he  feels  a  sense  of 
security,  because  he  knows  that  the  captain  and  his  offi- 
cers are  at  the  post  of  duty.  So  do  we  securely  rest  on 
our  pillows  because  we  are  conscious  that  our  great  cap- 
tain and  his  associates  in  office  are  diligently  steering  the 
ship  of  state. 

"It  is  the  duty  of  us  all,  churchman  and  layman,  to 
hold  up  the  hands  of  our  President,  as  Aaron  and  Hur 
stayed  up  the  hands  of  Moses.  Let  us  remember  that  our 
Chief  Executive  and  all  subordinate  magistrates  are  the 
accredited  agents  and  ministers  of  God  and  are  clothed 
with  Divine  authority  and  therefore  it  is  our  duty  and 
should  be  our  delight  to  aid  them  by  every  means  in  our 
power  in  guiding  and  controlling  the  destiny  of  our  glori- 
ous republic." 


Not  only  in  the  remotest  parts  of  the  United  States, 
but  throughout  the  world,  this  gathering  was  a  subject  of 
extended  comment;  and,  after  all,  it  seemed  in  the  case 
of  Gibbons  a  matter  of  course.  The  extraordinary  trib- 
ute which  he  had  received  was  merely  a  definite  form  of 
expression  of  thoughts  which  had  existed  in  the  minds 
of  men  for  many  years  and  which  continued  to  exist  in 
them.  Of  the  multitude  of  laudations  in  the  press,  some 
of  those  keyed  in  the  strongest  note  of  expression  were 
from  non-Catholic  sources.  So  far  as  the  personality  of 
Gibbons  was  concerned  the  dividing  line  had  disappeared. 
His  mission  was  that  of  a  man  to  men,  and  appreciation 
of  its  bountiful  fruits  could  not  be  circumscribed.  He 
had  reversed  the  dictum  that  republics  are  ungrateful. 

No  one  sat  upon  the  platform  on  that  memorable  occa- 
sion who  was  not  astonished  at  the  spectacle.  No  one 
was  more  surprised  at  it  than  Gibbons.  In  spite  of  his 
disinclination  to  accept  public  ceremonies  in  his  honor,  he 
remarked  after  the  last  words  had  been  said  that  the  day 
was  one  of  the  happiest  of  his  life,  and  added : 

*T  have  been  present  at  many  great  ecclesiastical  and 
civic  ceremonies  where  there  were  outpourings  of  clergy 
and  laymen,  but  never  have  I  seen  a  more  august  body 
of  men  together.  Every  branch  of  this  great  government 
of  ours  was  represented.  There  was  the  executive,  rep- 
resented by  my  esteemed  friend  President  Taf t ;  the  leg- 
islative, represented  by  many  senators  and  representa- 
tives; and  the  judicial,  by  Chief  Justice  White.  No 
greater  body  of  men  could  have  been  assembled,  and  this 
day  and  its  event  will  live  always  in  my  memory. 

"I  cannot  express  my  feelings  when  I  consider  the  num- 


ber  and  character  of  the  men  who  came  here  to  pay  their 
respects.  I  want  to  thank  each  man,  woman  and  child 
who  took  the  trouble  to  be  present.  For  a  humble  citizen 
like  myself,  I  think  it  is  the  greatest  demonstration  ever 

In  the  quiet  of  his  study,  robed  in  the  worn  gray 
dressing  gown  which  was  a  familiar  object  to  his  inti- 
mates who  were  accustomed  to  visit  him  there,  he  said,  as 
he  contemplated  the  many  messages  by  cable,  telegraph 
and  mail  which  had  poured  in  upon  him : 

"It  seemed  that  the  whole  nation  remembered  me.'* 

Not  only  was  he  remembered  by  the  nation  which  he 
loved,  but  by  men  of  prominence  abroad  who  shared  in 
the  pleasure  of  the  occasion.  Six  of  the  cable  messages 
which  he  received  were  from  Cardinals  in  Europe. 

In  the  great  hall  itself  it  had  seemed  almost  to  have 
a  savor  of  unreality  that  such  an  assemblage  could  be 
brought  together  to  pay  honor  to  any  man.  Most  of  the 
speeches,  except  of  course  that  of  the  Cardinal  himself, 
who  could  not  have  trusted  himself  to  attempt  impromptu 
expression  on  such  an  occasion,  had  the  merit  of  being 
extemporaneous  and  therefore  seemed  to  come  straight 
from  the  hearts  of  those  who  uttered  them.  There  was 
no  vein  of  extravagance  in  them,  such  as  men  talking  for 
a  purpose  apart  from  the  object  of  the  meeting  might 
have  introduced.  Scanned  closely,  they  were  found  to 
form  an  exceptionally  accurate  estimate  of  the  object  of 
their  praise.  Distinguished  as  were  the  speakers,  most 
of  them  knew  Gibbons  well,  in  not  a  few  cases  intimately. 
What  they  uttered  was,  collectively,  the  deliberate  opin- 
ion of  nearly  all  those  close  enough  to  him  to  rate  him 


for  what  he  was.  They  were  estimates  rather  than  eulo- 
gies and  did  not  go  further  than  a  multitude  of  expres- 
sions in  magazines  and  newspapers  which  appeared  simul- 
taneously, if  as  far. 

While  the  majority  of  those  who  spoke  were  not  of 
the  Cardinal's  religious  faith,  they  were  one  with  him  in 
civic  faith  and  in  his  view  of  a  man's  duty  to  men.  His 
own  address,  couched  in  terms  of  humility  which  no  one 
doubted,  reinforced  the  general  impression  of  himself. 
He  spoke  thoughts,  simple  enough  in  themselves,  the  ex- 
emplification of  which  in  his  long  life  had  been  the  cause 
of  all  that  was  said  of  him  by  the  chiefs  of  the  nation. 

There  was  no  accounting  for  the  tribute,  except  on  the 
ground  of  his  own  personality.  Mr.  Baldwin,  who  con- 
ceived the  idea  of  the  meeting,  had  been  indefatigable 
in  obtaining  acceptances  to  the  invitations,  but  even  his 
best  efforts  would  have  been  unequal  to  assembling  such 
a  gathering  had  there  not  been  a  truly  earnest  desire  on 
the  part  of  the  leaders  of  official  life  to  recognize  such 
services  to  the  State  as  no  churchman  in  America,  except 
Gibbons,  had  ever  given.  Some  of  those  who  took  lead- 
ing parts  did  so  at  considerable  sacrifice.  Chief  Justice 
White,  who  for  many  years  had  been  a  close  friend  of 
Gibbons,  came  all  the  way  from  his  home  in  New  Or- 
leans in  order  to  be  present,  though  his  age  was  advanced. 
None  would  have  spoken  more  fervently  than  he  of  the 
Cardinal,  had  it  not  been  for  the  custom  which  prevents 
the  Chief  Justice  from  delivering  speeches  on  public  occa- 
sions outside  the  circle  of  his  judicial  duties. 

Neither  Taft  nor  Roosevelt  would  have  been  willing 
to  miss  such  a  meeting,  and,  indeed,  either  of  them  would 


have  considered  it  a  slight  not  to  have  been  invited.  They 
were  not  of  the  type  to  conceal  the  gratitude  which  they 
felt  for  the  direct  services  to  the  nation  which  Gibbons 
had  given  during  their  terms  in  the  Presidential  office. 

Nothing  could  be  found  in  the  nature  of  the  event, 
apart  from  the  personality  of  its  chief  participant,  to 
draw  forth  such  an  overwhelming  expression  of  official 
recognition.  True,  the  silver  jubilee  of  a  Cardinal  is  rare. 
Most  of  the  members  of  the  Sacred  College  are  near 
sixty  years  of  age  when  they  are  appointed,  especially 
those  far  removed  from  Rome,  for  they  must  attain,  as 
a  preliminary,  records  of  exceptional  accomplishment  in 
the  Church,  tried  and  proved  by  the  test  of  time.  They 
would  thus  be  beyond  eighty  years  of  age  if  they  reached 
the  silver  jubilee  of  the  Cardinalate.  For  the  same  rea- 
son, few  Archbishops  attain  a  service  of  twenty-five  years 
as  such,  but  Gibbons  in  1911  had  been  Archbishop  of 
Baltimore  for  a  third  of  a  century. 

Considering  that  the  event  took  place  in  America,  the 
silver  jubilee  of  a  Cardinal  in  this  country  was,  of  course, 
a  rarity,  for  there  had  been  only  one  before  Gibbons  and 
he  had  served  only  ten  years  in  the  Sacred  College.  Mc- 
Closkey,  "retiring  from  the  world,"  as  Gibbons  said  of 
him  in  the  sermon  at  his  funeral,  was  only  a  name  to  the 
great  majority  of  Americans  outside  his  diocese.  A  be- 
loved ecclesiastic  and  an  excellent  administrator,  he  had 
led  no  battle,  won  no  triumph,  suffered  no  reverse.  Had 
he  survived  to  bear  his  eminent  title  to  the  length  of 
twenty-five  years,  there  would  have  been  an  imposing 
Church  celebration  of  that  event,  but  no  one,  least  of  all 
McCloskey  himself,  would  have  thought  of  a  national 


civic    celebration    as    appropriate    in    that    connection. 

But  Gibbons  had  set  a  new  type  for  churchmen  in 
America,  not  only  as  to  his  own  Church,  but  as  to  all 
forms  of  all  faiths.  He  had  made  a  place  for  himself 
that  no  other  had  filled  or  attempted  to  fill,  for  the  reason 
that  it  had  seemed  unattainable.  No  Catholic  ecclesiastic 
had  been  so  bold  as  to  believe  before  Gibbons'  time  that 
he  could  be  an  acknowledged  leader  in  the  public  life  of 
the  nation  without  drawing  upon  himself  fierce  hostility ; 
the  conception  of  how  the  balance  of  the  two  elements 
could  be  preserved  with  perfect  propriety  was  possible  to 
few  men.  To  risk  the  misunderstanding  that  there  was 
an  attempted  encroachment  by  the  Church  upon  the  State 
would  have  seemed  fraught  with  untold  danger.  More 
particularly  would  this  apply  in  the  case  of  a  Cardinal  of 
dominant  personality. 

Yet,  so  far  as  his  most  intimate  friends  were  able  to 
detect.  Gibbons  had  never  thought  of  such  a  danger; 
certainly  he  was  not  one  to  shrink  from  any  undertaking 
because  of  fear  of  being  misunderstood.  His  natural 
bent  was  to  take  a  deep  interest  in  citizenship,  and  he 
could  only  have  held  aloof  from  participation  in  public 
affairs  by  a  violent  effort  of  the  will.  Besides,  he  valued 
his  rights  under  the  Constitution  and  laws  as  few  men 
valued  them,  and  he  wished  to  exercise  them  fully.  He 
did  not  claim  any  greater  right  than  the  humblest  citizen, 
but  that  to  him  seemed  enough.  He  was  constantly 
deploring  that  so  few  men,  comparatively,  made  proper 
use  of  their  opportunities  to  give  civic  service,  and  he 
drew  no  line  of  creed  as  to  this.  Once  he  said  that  he 
would  much  prefer  active  participation  by  an  individual 


in  public  affairs,  even  if  the  individual  were  inclined  at 
times  to  err  in  judgment,  to  the  dulness  of  indifference. 
His  creed  was  action  in  civic  life  as  well  as  in  religion. 

Searching  for  a  precedent,  it  would  appear  that  those 
American  churchmen  who  most  nearly  approached  the 
public  role  which  Gibbons  filled  were  Archbishops  Car- 
roll and  Hughes  in  the  Catholic  Church,  and  Henry  Ward 
Beecher  among  Protestants.  Carroll,  the  pathfinder, 
showed  the  way  with  sure  and  steady  step  to  the  Catholics 
of  America  when  the  Church  numbered  only  about  25,000 
souls  in  the  whole  country,  owing  to  the  disabilities  im- 
posed under  English  Colonial  rule.  The  guidance  of 
that  small  body  was  a  far  different  undertaking  from 
that  of  Gibbons.  Carroll  was  second  to  none  in  the  es- 
teem in  which  he  was  held  by  the  leaders  of  the  young 
nation,  but  he  was  not  as  constant  a  participant  in  public 
affairs  as  Gibbons,  and  mingled  less  with  public  men.  It 
remained  for  Gibbons  to  give  effectiveness,  when  the 
United  States  was  becoming  the  most  populous  of  the 
great  powers  of  the  world,  to  the  great  ideas  which  Car- 
roll conceived  with  clear  vision  in  the  darkness  of  the 
struggle  that  made  the  country  independent. 

Hughes  ^  and  Beecher  ^  were  eminently  successful  in 
preventing  the  marshaling  of  European  influence  against 
the  preservation  of  the  American  union  in  the  Civil  War, 
but  neither  of  them  had  exemplified  the  deep  and  inti- 
mate reach  into  the  life  of  the  country  that  Gibbons 
had.  The  model  which  Gibbons  set  was  original  and 
difficult  even  for  others  to  imitate. 

"Shea,  History  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  the  United  States,  p.  473- 
*  Abbott,  Henry  Ward  Beecher,  pp.  161-186. 


Nothing  could  have  been  more  characteristic  of  Gib- 
bons than  an  incident  that  developed  when  the  time  of 
the  ecclesiastical  celebration  of  his  jubilee  in  October, 
1911,  was  drawing  near.  There  had  been  no  objection 
when  the  City  Council  of  Baltimore  had  declared  a 
municipal  holiday  in  honor  of  the  civic  celebration  in 
June.  A  few  weeks  before  the  time  set  for  the  ecclesias- 
tical commemoration,  a  resolution  for  declaring  a  muni- 
cipal holiday  for  that  occasion  also  was  presented  in  the 
Council.  The  resolution  passed  one  branch  of  that  body, 
and  was  about  to  be  passed  by  the  other  branch,  when  ob- 
jections by  the  Ministerial  Union  of  Baltimore,  a  group 
of  Protestant  ministers  who  met  for  periodical  discus- 
sions, were  interposed. 

The  union  adopted  resolutions  of  protest  which,  how- 
ever, were  careful  to  set  forth  that  they  had  no  relation 
to  a  desire  to  withhold  honor  from  Gibbons  himself.  The 
resolutions  read: 

"A  great  municipal  reception  was  given  to  Cardinal 
Gibbons  last  June  participated  in  by  city  officers  and 
ministers  of  many  denominations  and  various  State  and 
national  representatives,  making  it  a  general  tribute  to  a 
great  citizen,  and  expressing  the  kindly  and  courteous 
feelings  of  Baltimore  to  him  as  a  man; 



"An  ecclesiastical  celebration  of  the  same  anniversaries 
is  being  planned  for  this  October  by  his  own  church,  a 
distinctly  ecclesiastical  observance  as  the  proposed  pro- 
gram indicates.  On  this  occasion  we  Protestants  can  and 
do  present  our  respectful  congratulations,  but  in  this  cele- 
bration we  cannot  be  expected  to  take  part. 

"It  has  been  reported  in  the  newspapers  that  the  pro- 
posal is  now  before  the  City  Council  to  set  aside  a  day 
in  this  ecclesiastical  program,  namely,  Monday,  October 
16,  as  a  municipal  holiday,  closing  all  municipal  offices 
and  the  public  schools,  in  which  the  great  majority  are 
Protestants,  in  deference  to  this  ecclesiastical  celebration, 
forcing  them  tacitly  to  have  a  part  in  it. 

"Therefore,  Resolved^  That  without  in  the  least  les- 
sening our  honor  and  respect  for  Cardinal  Gibbons  as  a 
man  and  as  a  citizen  and  as  a  brother  churchman  of  signal 
ability  and  success  in  the  duties  of  his  high  office,  never- 
theless we  most  earnestly  and  emphatically  protest  against 
the  overzeal  and  unwisdom  of  some  of  his  friends  in  the 
proposal  to  force  a  municipal  holiday  upon  our  city  in 
deference  to  an  ecclesiastical  celebration. 

"We  regard  such  proposed  action  as  an  infringement 
upon  our  rights  as  Protestant  citizens  in  this  municipality. 

"We  regard  such  proposed  action  as  a  direct  violation 
of  a  fundamental  principle  of  our  American  government, 
with  its  complete  separation  of  Church  and  State. 

"We  regard  such  proposed  action  as  a  most  dangerous 
and  unwarranted  precedent,  and  therefore  against  it  we 
must  courteously  but  firmly  record  our  emphatic  protest." 

At  a  meeting  of  the  union,  speeches  were  made  in  sup- 
port of  the  resolutions  in  which,  as  in  the  resolutions 
themselves,  there  was  no  word  of  disrespect  to  the  Car- 
dinal. Gibbons  saw  an  account  of  this  meeting  in  a 
newspaper  the  following  morning,  and  sent  a  hasty  mes- 




'5  e 

fin's   •" 

^     2q 


sage  summoning  to  his  residence  for  consultation  a  friend 
with  whom  he  was  accustomed  to  confer  at  times  upon 
public  questions.  When  this  friend  arrived  at  his  place 
of  business  that  morning,  he  received  the  message,  and, 
without  giving  a  thought  to  his  own  numerous  duties  of 
the  day,  proceeded  at  once  to  the  archiepiscopal  residence. 

He  found  the  Cardinal  in  his  study,  attired  in  the 
familiar  dressing  gown.  After  a  brief  exchange  of  greet- 
ings, the  Cardinal  disclosed  the  object  of  his  summons  by 
saying : 

"I  have  just  been  reading  in  the  Sun  of  the  meeting 
of  ministers  yesterday,  at  which  objection  was  made  to  a 
municipal  holiday  in  honor  of  my  ecclesiastical  jubilee. 
What  do  you  think  of  their  views'?" 

The  friend  was  not  prepared  to  answer  so  direct  a 
question  at  once.  He  felt  that  no  honor  would  be  too 
great  for  the  Cardinal,  and  therefore  was  somewhat 
shocked  at  the  objections  to  the  holiday.    He  replied: 

"Your  Eminence,  I  think  it  was  at  least  in  bad  taste." 

Gibbons  replied  at  once: 

"I  think  they  are  right." 

He  had  evidently  made  up  his  mind  firmly  on  the  sub- 
ject and  merely  wished  to  sound  his  friend,  as  he  had 
done  on  former  occasions.    The  Cardinal  continued : 

"Do  you  know  Mr.  Jung,  who  introduced  the  resolu- 
tion in  the  City  Council^" 

The  friend  said  that  he  did  not  know  the  councilman. 

"Do  you  know  any  one  who  has  influence  with  him?" 
was  the  next  question. 

In  reply  the  Cardinal's  visitor  named  one  of  the  lead- 
ing men  of  the  city,  identified  with  local  politics,  in  a 


better  sort  of  way,  who  was  credited  with  special  influ- 
ence in  the  ward  which  Jung  represented.  The  Cardinal 
proceeded : 

"Go  to  see  him  at  once  for  me,  and  ask  him  to  request 
Mr.  Jung  to  call  upon  me  at  three  o'clock." 

The  mission  was  promptly  executed  and  at  the  hour 
named  the  city  councilman  presented  himself  at  the  Car- 
dinal's residence.  Gibbons  had  prepared  for  the  inter- 
view. He  thanked  Jung  for  the  kindly  sentiments  which 
had  caused  him  to  introduce  the  resolution,  and  re- 
quested earnestly  that  it  be  withdrawn  at  the  meeting 
of  the  Council  which  was  to  take  place  later  on  that  day. 
At  the  same  time  he  handed  to  Jung  a  prepared  statement 
in  which  he  formally  requested  the  withdrawal.  In  this 
statement  the  Cardinal  gave  three  reasons  for  his  course. 
They  were : 

First,  a  municipal  holiday  might  not  be  acceptable  to 
the  parents  of  the  thousands  of  children  attending  the 
schools,  who  would  be  released  from  discipline  and  spend 
the  time  in  idleness. 

Second,  the  business  interests  of  the  city  might  be  in- 
terfered with. 

Third,  many  persons  of  the  laboring  classes  would  be 
thrown  out  of  employment  and  lose  a  day's  wages. 

From  obvious  causes  he  omitted  to  state  the  fundamen- 
tal and  all-compelling  reason  with  him,  which  was  that 
he  wished  to  do  nothing  at  any  time  which  would  offend 
the  sensibilities  of  his  Protestant  fellow-citizens. 

The  Cardinal  told  Jung  that  he  hoped  that  his  action 
would  meet  with  the  approval  of  all  the  people  of  Balti- 
more, regardless  of  creed.    He  added  that  he  could  never 


cease  to  express  his  gratitude  to  the  city  and  State  au- 
thorities for  participating  officially  in  the  civic  celebra- 
tion in  his  honor  in  June,  and  that  it  was,  in  his  opinion, 
neither  necessary  nor  desirable  that  the  City  Council 
should  give  special  recognition  to  the  next  celebration, 
which  would  be  purely  ecclesiastical. 

Jung  could  do  nothing  but  acquiesce  in  the  Cardinal's 
views,  and  the  resolution  was  withdrawn  from  the  Coun- 
cil's consideration. 

Gibbons  went  further.  He  sent  for  the  minister  who 
had  made  the  principal  speech  to  the  Ministerial  Union 
in  opposition  to  the  declaration  of  a  municipal  holiday 
and  cordially  commended  him  for  the  stand  that  had 
been  taken,  saying  that  the  views  of  both  of  them  upon 
the  subject  coincided  fully.  The  minister  was  much  im- 
pressed by  the  brotherly  affection  with  which  the  Cardinal 
received  him,  and  still  more  by  the  frank  and  emphatic 
views,  paralleling  his  own,  which  the  eminent  prelate 

Gibbons  arranged  a  prelude,  as  he  sometimes  did  in 
the  case  of  important  ecclesiastical  celebrations,  which 
took  the  form  of  the  delivery  of  a  message  to  all  his  fel- 
low-countrymen, in  advance  of  the  event,  on  a  subject 
which  he  considered  important  and  necessary  to  present. 
At  that  time  there  was  strong  public  agitation  in  favor 
of  the  constitutional  amendment  subsequently  enacted, 
providing  for  the  election  of  United  States  senators  by 
popular  vote,  instead  of  by  the  legislatures  of  the  States, 
and  also  for  the  initiative,  referendum  and  recall  of  pub- 
lic officials.  Gibbons  had  positive  views  upon  these  ques- 
tions, because  they  involved  a  considerable  change  from 


constitutional  methods,  in  the  upholding  of  which  he  saw 
the  principal  reliance  for  the  safety  of  American  institu- 
tions, and  he  felt  that  the  occasion  must  not  be  allowed 
to  pass  without  a  word  of  warning  to  his  fellow-citizens. 

Preaching  in  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  October  13,  a 
week  in  advance  of  the  celebration,  he  delivered  his  mes- 
sage to  one  of  the  greatest  congregations  ever  assembled 
even  in  that  edifice.  As  always  when  he  preached  there, 
non-Catholics  composed  perhaps  half  of  the  congregation, 
and  long  lines  of  people  who  were  unable  to  find  places 
within  the  building  massed  in  the  streets  outside  as  the 
time  for  the  service  approached. 

Gibbons  began  by  referring  to  his  coming  jubilee, 
saying : 

"When  the  subject  of  commemorating  the  golden 
jubilee  of  my  ordination  to  the  priesthood  and  the  silver 
jubilee  of  my  elevation  to  the  Sacred  College  was  under 
consideration,  I  expressed  the  desire  and  intention  of 
celebrating  the  event  with  the  least  possible  display.  But 
you  all  know  how  my  modest  arrangements  were  dashed 
aside  by  the  kind  partiality  of  my  friends  and  fellow- 
citizens  of  Baltimore  and  Maryland.  Never,  indeed, 
shall  I  forget,  never  shall  I  cease  to  be  grateful  for  the 
unparalleled  reception  of  June  6,  which  shall  always  be 
a  red-letter  day  in  the  annals  of  our  city — when  the 
President  and  the  leading  members  of  the  coordinate 
branches  of  the  Government  assembled  in  Armory  Hall, 
with  the  Governor  and  Mayor,  and  City  Council,  and  the 
prominent  citizens  of  the  city  and  State,  to  pay  your 
Cardinal  Archbishop  an  honor  beyond  his  deserts. 

"The  pleasure  of  this  demonstration  was  enhanced  by 
the  consideration  that  it  was  so  cordial  and  spontaneous 


and  was  conceived  and  undertaken  without  the  slightest 
suggestion  or  expectation  on  my  part. 

"Besides  that  civic  festivity,  I  shall  be  honored  on  the 
15th  of  this  month  by  a  large  concourse  of  my  brethren 
of  the  Episcopate  and  clergy  from  various  parts  of  the 
United  States,  Canada,  Mexico  and  Africa,  who  will 
join  with  me  in  the  religious  celebration  of  the  jubilee. 

"It  is  very  natural  that  on  an  occasion  like  the  present 
I  should  indulge  in  some  reminiscences.  This  is  a  privi- 
lege of  the  old,  in  which  the  young  cannot  share. 

"All  the  priests  that  were  ordained  for  this  diocese 
with  me,  and  before  my  time,  have  long  since  passed 
away,  and  all  my  Episcopal  brethren  with  whom  I  began 
to  labor  after  my  consecration,  forty-three  years  ago, 
have  gone  to  their  reward,  with  one  solitary  exception, 
and  that  exception  is  the  venerable  Bishop  of  Kansas  City. 
Though  I  value  the  friendship  of  my  junior  colleagues,  I 
feel  a  sense  of  loneliness  in  the  absence  of  my  old  com- 
panions with  whom  I  sat  so  often  in  council  and  with 
whom  I  labored  so  long  in  the  vineyard  of  the  Lord. 

"It  may  be  interesting  as  well  as  consoling  to  institute 
a  comparison  between  the  Church  of  1861  and  its  present 
situation  after  half  a  century.  In  1861  the  Archbishops 
and  Bishops  of  the  United  States  numbered  48.  The 
priests  were  2,064.  The  number  of  churches  with  priests 
attached  was  2,042,  and  the  Catholic  population  was  es- 
timated at  1,860,000. 

"The  number  of  Archbishops  and  Bishops  today  in 
charge  of  Sees  amounts  to  96,  twice  as  many  as  existed  in 
1861.  The  priests  amount  to  17,000,  an  increase  of  more 
than  eight-fold.  There  are  13,500  churches,  nearly  a 
seven-fold  increase.  We  have  about  15,000,000  Church 
members,  eight  times  as  many  as  existed  in  the  United 
States  in  1861. 

"But  the  progress  of  religion  in  our  country  is  to  be 


estimated  not  only  by  the  augmentation  of  the  number 
of  communicants  but  also  by  a  more  efficient  coordination 
and  discipline.  The  clergy,  in  1861,  were  as  detached 
squadrons  compared  to  the  compact  and  well-marshaled 
army  of  today. 

"Half  a  century  ago  the  prelates  and  clergy  labored 
under  many  adverse  circumstances.  In  widely  extended 
parts  of  the  country  they  had  to  minister  to  the  faithful 
scattered  over  a  vast  expanse  of  territory,  without  or- 
ganized parishes,  often  without  churches  wherein  to  wor- 
ship, and  without  Catholic  schools.  They  had  but  scant 
resources  to  sustain  them.  Frequently  they  had  to  con- 
tend with  deep-rooted  prejudices. 

"Now,  thank  God,  we  have  in  most  places  parishes 
well  organized.  Churches  have  multiplied  from  the  At- 
lantic to  the  Pacific.  Parochial  schools  have  become  the 
rule  instead  of  the  exception  in  the  large  centres  of  popu- 
lation. A  generous  laity  are  usually  able  and  always 
willing  to  aid  our  missionaries.  An  unfriendly  feeling 
still  exists  in  some  quarters,  as  a  result  of  long  standing 
traditions  and  a  biased  education.  But  the  mists  of  preju- 
dice are  gradually  disappearing  before  the  sunlight  of 

"Let  me  address  you,  my  junior  brethren  of  this  Epis- 
copate and  the  clergy.  Oh  I  you  who  are  now  in  the  full 
tide  of  physical  and  intellectual  vigor,  I  congratulate  you, 
for  your  lives  are  fallen  in  pleasant  places.  What  a  rich 
field  is  open  to  your  apostolic  zeal ! 

"You  represent  the  highest  authority  in  the  world,  the 
Lord  of  Hosts  Himself.  You  go  forth  as  the  envoys  not 
of  an  earthly  potentate,  but  of  the  King  of  kings  and  Lord 
of  lords.  And  if  it  is  a  great  distinction  for  any  Ameri- 
can citizen  to  represent  his  country  before  the  courts  of 
Europe,  how  much  greater  is  the  honor  you  enjoy  of  rep- 
resenting the  court  of  Heaven  before  the  nations  of  the 
earth  I     'For  Christ,'  says  the  Apostle,  'we  are  ambassa- 


dors,  God,  as  it  were,  exhorting  by  us.'  How  beautiful  on 
the  mountain  are  the  feet  of  Him  that  bringeth  good  tid- 
ings and  that  preacheth  peace,  of  Him  that  showeth  forth 
good ;  that  preacheth  salvation ;  that  saith  to  Zion :  'My 
God  shall  reign.' 

"Your  mission  is  to  an  enlightened  American  people 
who  are  manly  and  generous,  open  to  conviction  and  who 
will  give  you  a  patient  hearing.  The  American  race 
forms  the  highest  type  of  a  Christian  nation  when  its 
natural  endowments  of  truth,  justice  and  indomitable 
energy  are  engrafted  on  the  supernatural  virtues  of  faith, 
hope  and  charity." 

Gibbons  proceeded  to  advise  the  junior  clergy  as  to 
their  conduct,  exhorting  them  to  shed  luster  upon  the 
cause  of  religion  and  that  "as  citizens  of  the  United 
States,  you  should  take  a  prominent  part  in  every  measure 
that  conduces  to  the  progress  of  the  commonwealth." 
Launching  then  into  the  general  civic  message  which  he 
wished  to  deliver,  he  said: 

"At  the  present  moment  there  are  three  political  prob- 
lems which  are  engaging  the  serious  attention  of  our  pub- 
lic men. 

"It  is  proposed  that  United  States  Senators  should  be 
elected  by  popular  vote  instead  of  being  chosen  by  the 
Legislatures,  as  is  prescribed  by  the  Constitution. 

"It  is  proposed  that  the  acts  of  our  Legislatures  before 
they  have  the  force  of  law,  should  be  submitted  to  the 
suffrage  of  the  people,  who  would  have  the  right  of  veto. 

"It  is  proposed  to  recall  or  remove  an  unpopular  judge 
before  the  expiration  of  his  term  of  office. 

"No  one  questions  the  ability,  the  sincerity  and  patrio- 
tism of  the  advocates  of  these  changes  in  our  organic  laws. 
But  I  hope  I  may  not  be  presumptuous  in  saying  that,  in 


my  opinion,  the  wisdom  of  the  proposed  amendments 
must  be  seriously  questioned. 

"The  election  of  Senators  by  the  votes  of  the  people 
involves  the  destruction  of  a  strong  bulwark  against  dan- 
gerous popular  encroachments.  The  reason  given  for  this 
contemplated  change  is  that  many  of  our  State  Legisla- 
tures are  charged  with  being  venal,  and  that  it  is  easier 
to  corrupt  the  Legislature  than  the  whole  people. 

"In  reply  I  would  say :  If  you  cannot  trust  the  mem- 
bers of  the  Legislature,  how  can  you  trust  their  constitu- 
ents from  whom  they  spring?  If  you  cannot  confide  in 
our  Legislatures  you  cannot  confide  in  human  govern- 
ment nor  in  human  nature  itself. 

"If  a  few  of  our  Legislatures  have  been  found  guilty  of 
bribery,  it  is  most  unjust  to  involve  all  the  others  in  their 
condemnation.  I  have  sufficient  confidence  in  the  moral 
integrity  of  our  Legislatures  to  be  convinced  that  the 
great  majority  of  them  have  never  bent  the  knee  to 

"To  give  to  the  masses  the  right  of  annulling  the  acts 
of  the  Legislature  is  to  substitute  mob  law  for  established 

"To  recall  a  judge  because  his  decisions  do  not  meet 
with  popular  approval  is  an  .insult  to  the  dignity,  the 
independence  and  the  self-respect  of  our  judiciary.  Far 
less  menacing  to  the  Commonwealth  is  an  occasional  cor- 
rupt or  incompetent  judge  than  one  who  would  be  the 
habitual  slave  of  a  capricious  multitude  and  have  his  ear 
to  the  ground  trying  to  ascertain  the  will  of  the  populace. 

"The  Constitution  of  the  United  States  is  the  palla- 
dium of  our  liberties  and  a  landmark  in  our  march  of 
progress.  That  instrument  has  been  framed  by  the  anx- 
ious cares  and  enlightened  zeal  of  the  fathers  of  the  re- 
public. Its  wisdom  has  been  tested  and  successfully 
proved  after  a  trial  of  a  century  and  a  quarter. 

"It  has  weathered  the  storms  of  the  century  which  is 


passed  and  it  should  be  trusted  for  the  centuries  to  come. 
What  has  been  good  enough  for  our  fathers  ought  to  be 
good  enough  for  us.  Every  change,  either  in  the  political 
or  religious  world,  is  not  a  reformation.  'Better  to  bear 
the  ills  we  have  than  fly  to  others  that  we  know  not  of.' 

"Every  man  that  runs  about  waving  a  new  panacea  for 
social  evils  is  not  to  be  worshiped  as  a  political  and  moral 
reformer.  We  all  remember  the  story  of  'Aladdin  or  the 
wonderful  lamp.'  Better  to  trust  to  the  old  lamp  of  the 
fathers  which  has  guided  the  steps  of  the  American  people 
for  generations  than  to  confide  in  every  ignis  fatuus  that 
may  lead  us  into  dangerous  pitfalls.  Do  not  disturb  the 
political  landmarks  of  our  republic." 

Public  interest  in  Gibbons  was  keyed  up  by  the  ap- 
proach of  the  ecclesiastical  celebration,  and  his  words 
were  telegraphed  throughout  the  country.  While  they 
were  not  sufficient  to  stay  the  movement  for  the  consti- 
tutional change  as  to  the  election  of  Senators,  they  added 
a  weighty  influence  to  other  forces  which  were  being  ex- 
erted against  the  adoption  of  the  initiative,  referendum 
and  recall  and  which  prevented  those  innovations  from 
obtaining  more  than  a  scant  foothold  in  a  few  of  the 

A  week  later  the  devoted  co-worker  of  Gibbons,  Arch- 
bishop Ireland,  in  an  address  at  a  banquet  of  the  Society 
of  the  Army  of  the  Tennessee  in  Council  Bluffs,  Iowa, 
echoed  his  views  and  this  second  deliverance  served  fur- 
ther to  concentrate  attention  upon  the  subject.  With  a 
burst  of  that  fire  which  had  thrilled  many  great  gather- 
ings, Ireland  exclaimed: 

"Democracy,  yes;  mobocracy,  never!  And  toward 
mobocracy  we  are  now  bidden  to  wend  our  way.    The 


shibboleths  of  the  clamor — the  initiative,  referendum, 
recall — put  into  general  practice,  as  the  evangelists  of  the 
new  social  gospel  would  fain  have  them,  are  nothing  more 
nor  less  than  the  madness  of  Democracy.  The  highest 
and  purest  moral  virtues  run  into  extremes — become  evil 
— so  with  Democracy. 

"May  we  not,  it  is  asked,  trust  the  people"?  Yes,  we 
trust  the  people  as  the  framers  of  our  Constitution  trusted 
them,  as  the  people  usually  trust  themselves  when  inter- 
ests other  than  political  are  at  stake,  remitting  those  in- 
terests to  experts.  We  trust  the  people  when  they  treat 
of  matters  with  which  they  are  conversant. 

"In  the  long  run  American  public  opinion  will  be  sure 
to  right  itself;  the  misfortune  is,  as  we  know  too  well, 
the  people  may  suffer  from  a  temporary  excitement. 
From  the  consequences  of  such  excitement  we  should 
strive  to  save  the  republic." 

A  few  days  before  the  celebration  in  Baltimore  began 
a  silver  service  of  264  pieces,  one  of  the  handsomest  and 
most  costly  gifts  of  the  kind  which  could  be  presented 
to  any  one,  was  bestowed  upon  Gibbons  in  the  City 
Hall  as  an  additional  mark  of  the  esteem  in  which  he  was 
held  at  home.  It  had  been  purchased  by  means  of  volun- 
tary public  subscriptions.  The  ceremony  of  presentation 
took  place  on  Saturday,  October  7,  and  was  presided  over 
by  Mayor  Preston.  Gibbons  was  no  stranger  to  the  large 
reception  room  in  which  it  took  place,  for  he  had  been 
welcomed  there  by  not  a  few  of  Mayor  Preston's  prede- 
cessors. This  time  he  found  himself  in  the  midst  of  a 
gathering  including  the  members  of  the  City  Council  and 
the  heads  of  the  municipal  departments  and  boards. 
Governor  Crothers  also  joined  the  company. 


The  mayor,  in  an  address,  hailed  the  Cardinal  in  his 
dual  capacity  which  all  recognized,  saying  : 

"On  June  6,  of  the  present  year,  in  the  Fifth  Regiment 
Armory  of  our  city,  your  Eminence  was  the  center  of  one 
of  the  most  remarkable  gatherings  that  has  ever  assem- 
bled in  this  or  any  other  city.  The  occasion  was  the 
fiftieth  anniversary  of  your  elevation  to  the  priesthood 
and  the  twenty-fifth  armiversary  of  your  elevation  to  the 
Cardinalate  in  the  great  Church  of  which  you  have  been 
and  are  such  a  distinguished  member. 

"Renowned  as  you  are  as  priest  and  prince  of  the  great 
Roman  Catholic  Church  for  your  many  years  of  zealous, 
faithful  and  notable  services  in  the  cause  of  religion,  you 
are  no  less  distinguished  as  a  man  and  a  citizen  of  this 
great  republic  for  your  life  of  service  to  mankind  and  to 
the  cause  of  order,  morality  and  good  government. 

"The  testimonial  which  the  committee  has  selected  is 
the  silver  service  which  is  before  you,  and  which,  as  chair- 
man of  that  committee,  it  is  my  duty  to  present  to  you  on 
its  behalf  and  on  behalf  of  the  much  greater  body  of  your 
friends  who  bear  a  part  in  this  testimonial.  Together 
with  that,  I  am  also  commissioned  to  present  to  you  a 
bound  volume  recording  the  demonstration  of  June  6, 
the  public  meeting  and  the  notable  speeches  that  were 
there  delivered  and  other  events  connected  with  the  cele- 
bration of  your  golden  jubilee  as  a  priest  and  the  twenty- 
fifth  anniversary  of  your  service  as  a  Cardinal." 

The  mayor's  statement  that  the  civic  celebration  in 
June  had  been  marked  by  the  attendance  of  "one  of  the 
most  remarkable  gatherings  that  has  ever  assembled  in 
this  or  in  any  other  city"  was  amplified  by  Governor 
Crothers,  who  said  that  it  had  no  precedent  anywhere. 

The  Cardinal,  in  the  presence  of  this  new  proof  of  the 


affection  of  his  friends  and  neighbors,  expressed  thanks 
to  the  mayor,  the  members  of  the  City  Council,  and  the 
others  who  were  present;  and,  in  addition,  he  named  a 
number  of  the  chairmen  of  the  committees  who  had  been 
foremost  in  arranging  the  festivities  of  the  year  in  his 
honor.  The  first  of  those  whom  he  mentioned  was  John 
Gardner  Murray,  bishop  of  the  Episcopal  diocese  of 
Maryland,  of  whom  he  said :  "I  hope  it  will  not  be  in- 
vidious to  mention  in  a  particular  manner  the  Rt.  Rev. 
Bishop  Murray,  chairman  of  the  committee  on  recep- 
tion." The  Cardinal  promised  that  the  silver  service 
would  be  "preserved  in  the  archiepiscopal  household  for 
generations  to  come,"  adding: 

"It  will  serve  as  a  souvenir  to  those  who  come  after  us 
of  the  close  ties  of  friendship  that  bound  together  myself, 
my  fellow-citizens  and  friends  of  Baltimore  and  Mary- 
land, and  it  will  be  an  incentive  to  my  successors  to  cul- 
tivate the  same  happy  fraternal  relations." 

A  celebration  in  honor  of  Gibbons  without  some  form 
of  participation  by  the  Catholic  University  would  have 
seemed  to  him  like  a  celebration  in  honor  of  a  part  of  him- 
self, but  not  the  whole.  This  time  the  participation  took 
a  singularly  happy  turn.  The  trustees  of  the  university 
decided  to  erect  a  new  hall  of  handsome  proportions,  one 
of  the  massive  group  that  had  sprung  up  on  the  ample 
acres  of  the  university  seat,  as  it  seemed,  out  of  mists  of 
doubt  and  difficulty  and  struggle,  and  called  it  Cardinal 
Gibbons  Memorial  Hall.  They  asked  the  Cardinal  to 
lay  the  cornerstone  at  his  jubilee. 

Nothing  could  have  made  a  stronger  appeal  to  him 


than  this.  He  joined  in  the  plan  with  a  zest  which  the 
enthusiasm  of  youth  could  not  have  exceeded,  and  every 
step  that  was  taken  to  prepare  for  the  erection  of  the 
hall  was  a  new  joy  to  him.  It  was,  of  course,  no  easy 
task  to  raise  the  $250,000  needed  for  this  new  project 
for  an  institution  whose  rapid  growth  had  made  the  draw- 
ing upon  every  source  of  prospective  revenue  an  incessant 
and  never  satisfied  need;  but  subscriptions  began  to  flow 
in  when  the  plan  became  known,  and  the  financing  of  the 
building  became  easier. 

Gibbons  laid  the  cornerstone  on  Friday,  October  12, 
in  the  presence  of  many  prelates,  and  an  assemblage  of 
Catholic  scholarship  seldom  equaled  in  America.  Arch- 
bishop Farley,  the  vice-president  of  the  trustees,  deliv- 
ered the  principal  address  and  spoke  of  Gibbons  as  the 
"honor  and  glory  of  the  Church  in  America,"  the  "most 
beloved  man"  in  that  Church.  He  said  that  the  hour  and 
the  man  for  the  accomplishment  of  the  long-cherished 
university  project  had  been  found  at  the  Third  Plenary 
Council  of  Baltimore,  whence  Gibbons,  the  presiding  offi- 
cer and  dominating  figure  of  that  conclave,  had  gone 
forth  commissioned  by  the  prelates  to  take  up  the  work, 
relying  upon  faith  in  things  unseen,  rather  than  upon  any 
practical  prospect  of  making  a  start  at  that  time.  Arch- 
bishop Farley  reviewed  the  steps  that  had  been  taken  in 
organizing  the  university  and  continued: 

"While  the  responsibility  in  general  for  the  working 
of  the  institution  rests  on  the  board  of  trustees,  the  cen- 
tral pivot  in  which  every  movement  of  the  great  and 
growing  mechanism  of  the  institution  turned  was  the 
chairman  of  the  board,  the  chancellor  of  the  university. 


In  times  of  stress  all  learned  to  turn  to  him ;  to  him  every- 
one looked  for  inspiration  in  each  new  departure  in  the 
career  of  the  institution,  and  in  every  change  and  circum- 
stance he  was  found  equal  to  the  demand. 

"But  while  Cardinal  Gibbons  thus  rendered  invaluable 
service  from  the  beginning  in  every  juncture,  never  in  its 
history  was  his  indomitable  courage,  the  most  needed  ele- 
ment in  the  rise  of  every  vast  undertaking,  so  notably 
shown  as  in  the  dark  days  of  its  greatest  trial.  For  trials 
it  has  had  in  common  with  all  great  things  begun  for  God 
and  the  good  of  religion.  For  then  even  those  who  loved 
the  university  with  the  love  of  a  strong  man's  soul  lost 
heart  and  hope,  felt  in  all  sincerity  that  the  work  had 
been  premature  and  that  this  trial  was  the  extremest  test 
under  which  it  must  go  down,  to  await  other  times  and 
other  men  in  generations  to  come.  And  these  did  not  even 
hesitate  to  advise  that  the  enterprise  be  abandoned. 

"Then  it  was  that  he  whom  we  delight  to  honor  by 
these  walls  proved  the  bulwark  of  the  people.  'Never,* 
said  he,  'while  I  have  power  to  wield  a  pen  in  appeal  or 
lift  a  voice  in  pleading,  shall  this  work  of  religion  stop. 
God  wills  it;  the  work  must  go  on.' 

"And  he  triumphed,  aye,  almost  alone.  Yes,  in  that 
fruitful  time  he  might  be  said  to  have  trod  the  winepress 
alone.  And  today  is  laid  upon  his  venerable  brow  the 
crown  which  is  the  fruit  of  this  'courage  of  the  cross.' 

"If  today  the  Catholic  University  stands  forth  before 
the  world  a  thing  of  beauty  and  of  fairest  promise,  fairer 
and  more  prosperous  than  at  any  time  in  her  history,  no 
longer  a  source  of  painful  anxiety,  not  only  for  its  future 
but  for  its  very  existence,  it  is,  under  God,  wholly  due 
to  the  indomitable  labor  of  his  Eminence  Cardinal 

"It  is  said.  Tut  not  your  trust  in  princes.'  In  this  our 
Prince  of  the  Church  we  have  trusted,  and  we  have  not 
been  confounded.     His  princedom  is  not  of  this  world. 


He  worked  and  prayed  and  hoped  in  the  Lord  and  has 
not  been  disappointed. 

"These  things,  too,  he  has  done  for  the  university  not 
only  while  he  was  laboring  in  his  own  diocese,  but  while 
his  influence  was  being  cast  in  favor  of  every  good  and 
patriotic  cause  throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of  the 
land.  And  with  it  all  he  seems  to  grow,  like  the  eagle. 
The  winter  of  discontent  seems  never  to  have  dawned  for 
him,  but  rather  does  he  seem  to  enjoy  a  perpetual  Indian 
summer.    May  it  be  long  so." 

In  the  brilliancy  of  that  autumn  day  Gibbons'  mind 
wandered  back  to  the  physical  gloom  that  had  enshrouded 
the  gathering  which  had  assembled  at  the  laying  of  the 
first  cornerstone  of  the  university.  Speaking  a  few  words 
of  hopefulness  before  pronouncing  the  benediction,  he 

"I  cannot  fail  to  contrast  that  other  day  of  more  than 
twenty  years  ago,  when  the  first  cornerstone  of  this  uni- 
versity was  laid,  with  the  bright  sunshine  that  now  con- 
fronts us.  Rain  fell  in  torrents  that  day.  Now  the  skies 
are  cloudless  and  we  are  deluged  with  sunshine.  It  sug- 
gests to  me  the  words  of  Holy  Scripture  which  tell  us 
that  they  who  sow  in  tears  shall  reap  in  joy." 

The  Cardinal  congratulated  the  university  on  its  suc- 
cess and  prosperity  and  said : 

'T  earnestly  hope  that  before  the  winter's  snows  fall 
the  central  tower  of  the  building  will  be  completed  and 
we  will  wait  upon  Providence  to  enable  us  to  finish  the 
eastern  wing.  I  thank  the  past  benefactors  of  the  uni- 
versity who  have  contributed  toward  this  building  and 
hope  that  you  and  your  friends  will  enable  us  soon  to  com- 
plete the  other  wing." 


Such  a  concourse  of  the  Catholic  Hierarchy  as  trod  the 
aisles  of  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on  the  following  Sun- 
day, the  day  of  the  main  religious  celebration  of  the 
jubilee,  had  never  before  assembled — could  not  before 
have  been  assembled — to  honor  any  man  in  America. 
There  were  ten  Archbishops,  including  the  Papal  Dele- 
gate, Mgr.  Falconio,  and  forty-seven  Bishops,  many  mon- 
signori,  abbots,  the  faculties  of  the  Catholic  University 
and  St.  Mary's  Seminary,  priests  and  students.  Some  of 
them  came  from  remote  regions  of  the  country.  Ireland, 
of  St.  Paul,  was  there,  of  course.  His  tall  form,  upon 
which  storms  of  controversy  had  beaten  almost  unceas- 
ingly for  years,  now  seemed  bent,  his  hair  somewhat  sil- 
vered, but  ardent  affection  for  his  leader  still  inspired  him 
as  before.  There  were  Farley,  about  to  be  made  a  Car- 
dinal, and,  with  O'Connell,  of  Boston,  to  be  the  first 
American  princes  of  the  Church  elevated  in  twenty-five 
years,  during  which  time  Gibbons  alone  held  that  distinc- 
tion; Glennon,  of  St.  Louis,  gifted  as  an  orator;  Blenk, 
of  New  Orleans,  the  city  which,  next  to  Baltimore, 
claimed  Gibbons  as  its  own,  and  which  only  less  than 
Baltimore  joined  in  spirit  in  the  celebration;  Prender- 
gast,  of  Philadelphia ;  Quigley,  of  Chicago,  and  Moeller, 
of  Cincinnati.  Archbishop  Bruchesi  came  from  Montreal 
to  convey  the  felicitations  of  Canadian  Catholics. 

As  Gibbons  entered  the  Cathedral  at  the  end  of  the 
long  procession,  the  choir  burst  forth  in  a  choral  march 
composed  for  the  occasion  whose  tones  proclaimed: 

"Hero  I    Thus  do  men  acclaim  him 
Though  he  wields  no  warrior's  sword." 


The  splendid  services  which  followed  were  crowned 
with  the  approbation  of  Pius  X,  from  whom  the  follow- 
ing letter  was  read :  ^ 

''To  our  beloved  son,  James  Cardinal  Gibbons,  Car- 
dinal Priest  of  the  title  of  St.  Mary  in  Trastevere,  Arch- 
bishop of  Baltimore,  Pius  PP.  X.  Health  and  Apostolic 

"Beloved  Son — We  have  heard  with  gladness  that  all 
the  Bishops  and  the  clergy  of  the  United  States,  also 
many  distinguished  men  in  every  walk  of  life,  are  about 
to  celebrate  your  twofold  jubilee,  the  fiftieth  anniversary 
of  your  ordination  to  the  priesthood  and  the  twenty-fifth 
anniversary  of  your  entry  into  the  College  of  Cardinals. 
Such  universal  joy  at  the  forthcoming  celebration  of  both 
events  proves  to  us  the  high  esteem  and  the  great  venera- 
tion in  which  you  are  held  by  all,  not  alone  because  of 
your  exalted  office,  but  also  because  of  your  many  gifts 
of  mind  and  character  well  known  to  us,  not  to  speak  of 
the  remarkable  zeal  that  you  display  for  the  glory  of  the 
Most  High  and  the  welfare  of  souls. 

"The  esteem  and  praise  bestowed  on  the  person  of  the 
Bishop  not  only  redound,  as  all  know,  to  the  honor  and 
splendor  of  his  own  church,  but  also  serve  to  adorn  the 
universal  Church  of  Christ.  No  one,  therefore,  has 
greater  reason  than  we,  the  chief  pastor  of  the  Catholic 
religion,  for  deeply  rejoicing  at  these  festivities  that  give 
us  an  excellent  occasion  of  manifesting  our  particular 
affection  for  you. 

"With  our  whole  heart  we  congratulate  you  and  we 
pray  God  that  He  may  richly  reward  the  abundant  merits 
of  your  piety.  May  He  bestow  upon  you  for  many  years 
to  come  His  most  abundant  graces  and  draw  ever  more 
closely  to  you  the  hearts  of  your  own  devoted  and  loving 
^Archives  of  the  Baltimore  Cathedral 


"As  an  evidence  of  the  special  love  we  bear  you  and  a 
harbinger  of  eternal  happiness  we  add  to  our  good  wishes 
the  Apostolic  benediction.  Very  lovingly  do  we  grant  it 
to  yourself,  your  clergy  and  the  people  confided  to  your 
care,  likewise  to  all  who  participate  in  the  celebration  of 
the  aforesaid  jubilees. 

"Given  at  St.  Peter's,  Rome,  the  7th  of  May,  in  the 
year  iQii,  and  the  eighth  year  of  our  Pontificate. 

"Pius  PP.  X." 

Glennon  and  Blenk  were  the  voices  of  the  Church  in 
this  country  who,  in  the  preacher's  place  at  the  Pontifical 
Mass  and  the  Vesper  service  respectively,  bespoke  the 
thoughts  of  American  Catholics  about  their  revered  chief. 
The  Archbishop  of  St.  Louis  declared  that  his  purpose 
was  "solely  to  tell  the  truth"  about  the  Cardinal,  not  to 
flatter,  and  he  held  to  it.  The  position  of  his  Eminence, 
he  said,  was  unique  not  alone  in  Church  history,  but  in 
world  history  as  well.    Glennon  proceeded : 

"In  the  defense  of  social  order;  in  the  promotion  of 
human  right;  in  the  supreme  effort  to  maintain  the  social 
fabric  and  the  institutions  of  our  beloved  country,  no 
voice  in  all  the  broad  land  is  today  as  potent,  no  person- 
ality so  influential  as  that  of  our  beloved  Cardinal. 

"Indeed  the  position  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  is  unique 
not  alone  in  Church  history,  but  in  world  history  as  well. 
There  have  been  great  Cardinals  in  the  centuries  that  are 
gone — Wolsey,  Richelieu — but  the  opportunity  of  their 
greatness  arose  in  part  at  least  from  the  union  of  Church 
and  State  that  then  existed,  and  history  tells  us  that  they 
served  their  king  with  far  more  zeal  than  they  served  their 
God.  We  have  had  great  Cardinals  in  modern  times — 
Wiseman,  Manning,  Newman — and  again  in  part  their 
greatness  came  from  the  noble  defense  they  made  of  .a 
Church  that  was  persecuted. 


"We  may  not  deny  their  greatness,  their  learning,  their 
consecration ;  but,  unlike  any  one  member  of  either  group, 
our  Cardinal  stands  with  the  same  devotion  to  his  coun- 
try as  Richelieu  had  for  France,  cultivating  a  citizenship 
as  unstained  as  Newman,  and  while  reaching  out  to  a 
broader  democracy  than  even  Cardinal  Manning,  he  still 
remains  pre-eminent  in  his  unquestioned  devotion  to  Holy 

"And  so,  my  friends,  you  have  before  you  some  of  the 
titles  his  Eminence  has  to  our  respect  and  reverence;  so 
many  reasons  why  you  should  thank  God  that  he  so 
blessed  His  servant  and  thereby  blessed  us  all. 

"Priest,  Bishop,  Cardinal,  philosopher,  lawgiver,  chan- 
cellor, yes,  and  let  us  not  omit  through  all  these  high- 
sounding  titles  that  other — the  first  we  notice,  the  last  we 
may  forget — 

'For  he  is  gracious  if  he  be  observed 
He  hath  a  tear  for  pity  and  a  hand 
Open  as  day  for  meeting  charity.' 

"Yes,  Cardinal  Gibbons  is  a  kindly,  gentle  man." 

Archbishop  Blenk  spoke  in  an  analytical  vein  of  the 
personality  of  Gibbons.  Hundreds  of  men  who  were 
present,  in  and  out  of  the  Hierarchy  and  the  priesthood, 
felt  that  they  knew  Gibbons  as  a  familiar  friend.  Blenk 
put  into  words  the  thoughts  which  clamored  for  expres- 
sion within  those  who  were  capable  of  understanding  him. 
The  head  of  the  See  of  New  Orleans  had  learned  to  know 
him  exceptionally  well  through  intimate  contact  during 
the  Lenten  visits  of  Gibbons  to  that  city,  and  he  revealed 
the  Cardinal  intimately,  as  it  were,  to  those  in  the  multi- 
tude who  had  no  opportunity  of  observing  him  at  close 
range  and  in  every  aspect.    He  said: 


"No  single  treasure  yielded  us  by  these  golden  years 
is  more  precious,  it  seems  to  me,  than  the  revelation  of 
the  Cardinal's  personality.  Rich  in  varied  gifts,  it  is 
above  all  remarkable  for  a  perfect  balance  of  powers,  for 
a  happy  blending  of  qualities  that  meet  but  rarely  in  one 
person.  We  perceive  in  him  a  natural  nobility  and  ele- 
vation of  soul,  an  innate  dignity  of  character,  a  winning 
simplicity,  an  unfailing  courtesy,  an  instinctive  and  al- 
most unerring  sense  of  whatsoever  is  just,  is  right,  is  true 
and  noble ;  a  charity  unfeigned,  that  excludes  no  man  and 
no  class  of  men,  that  heeds  no  prejudice,  cherishes  no  ran- 
cor, rises  above  injury,  harbors  no  resentment,  is  single- 
minded  in  its  devotion  to  the  good  of  others;  a  faith  un- 
clouded and  undimmed  that  receives  the  words  of  the 
Divine  Saviour  with  the  simplicity  of  a  child,  penetrates 
their  meaning  with  the  keenness  of  a  sage  and  makes  their 
spirit  his  second  nature;  a  faith  that  can  be  sure  of  itself 
without  impugning  the  sincerity  of  others  who  receive  it 
not ;  a  whole-hearted  faith,  ardent  in  its  zeal  to  convince, 
yet  never  intemperate;  a  faith  that  is  Catholic  in  every 
fibre  and  absolutely  loyal  to  the  Vicar  of  Christ,  reposing 
undisturbed  on  that  rock  which  unbelief,  ignorance, 
hatred  and  misguided  zeal  have  beat  against,  age  after 
age,  in  vain  assault;  a  mind  devoid  of  all  pretensions, 
humble,  open,  and  even  now,  on  the  verge  of  fourscore, 
willing  to  learn;  intent  upon  the  practical,  averse  to 
subtleties,  aiming  at  the  heart  of  a  question  and  reaching 
it  with  rare  insight ;  a  mind  firm  in  its  grasp  of  ideas  and 
principles,  clear  in  conception  and  always  simple,  direct 
and  clear  in  exposition,  faultless  in  tact  and  sure  in  knowl- 
edge of  the  mind  it  seeks  to  persuade ;  conscious  of  its  own 
rectitude,  respectful  of  adversaries,  giving  no  cause  of 
offense,  yet  speaking  out  the  truth  with  warmth  and 
without  tremor  of  fear;  gifted  with  the  supreme  endow- 
ment of  wisdom  and  good  sense,  free  from  illusory 
schemes,  yet  ever  hopeful  and  buoyant;  in  all  things  a 


good,  true  and  wise  man,  a  gentleman,  a  priest  of  God, 
a  Bishop  and  Prince  of  the  Church. 

"God  meant  him  for  a  leader  of  his  people.  Looking 
back  over  that  long  life,  we  can  now  discern  the  special 
Providence  that  guided  his  every  step  and  prepared  him 
for  his  destined  work.  We  see  him  nurtured  in  the  love 
of  religion  and  virtue;  we  see  him  led  by  Providence  in 
boyhood  to  the  Isle  of  Saints,  where  his  spirit  waxed 
strong  in  the  pure  air  of  Catholic  faith;  we  see  him  deeply 
impressed  in  youth  by  a  remarkable  man  whose  ardent 
missionary  zeal  was  made  all  the  more  yearning  by  ad- 
miration and  love  for  his  countrymen;  we  see  him  pass 
into  that  school  which  stamped  forever  the  ideals  of  the 
priesthood  upon  his  very  soul. 

"Since  twenty-five  years  ago,  he  has  been  'Our  Car- 
dinal,' and  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  dignity  has  added 
not  only  a  distinction  to  his  personality  but  new  force  to 
his  influence.  The  Cardinal's  robes,  it  is  true,  are  a  trial 
as  well  as  an  honor.  In  them  the  small  man  appears 
smaller,  but  the  man  of  high  moral  stature,  the  church- 
man of  wisdom  and  broad  intelligence,  stands  forth  in 
greater  vigor  and  grace.  Cardinal  Gibbons  has  stood  the 

"How  long  he  has  held  the  nation  as  his  audience! 
Great  orators  and  statesmen  have  risen  since  then  and 
gained  the  ear  of  the  people;  today  they  are  heard  no 
more.  Presidents  have  come  and  gone,  and  already  the 
memory  of  some  is  beginning  to  grow  dim.  But  all  during 
this  quarter  century  the  Cardinal  has  grown  in  influence ; 
today,  as  for  many  years  past — can  I  not  truly  say*? — 
there  is  no  other  speaker  upon  topics  of  abiding  interest 
whom  the  American  people  hear  so  gladly. 

"He  could  not  speak  as  your  pastor  only,  O  Catholic 
people  of  Maryland;  as  Cardinal,  as  Primate  of  the 
American  Hierarchy,  as  Bishop  of  the  National  Capital, 
he  belongs  to  the  whole  country.    Many,  indeed,  outside 


the  Church  listen  to  him  as  to  the  'Voice  of  Religion,'  for 
prejudice  disarms  when  the  Cardinal  speaks. 

"He,  more  than  any  other  among  us,  has  directed  the 
course  of  Catholicism  in  our  land.  But,  above  all,  he  has 
expressed  most  truly  and  most  clearly  the  Catholic 
thought  and  sentiment  of  America  and  thereby  crystal- 
lized them ;  he  has  been  our  representative  to  this  age  and 
nation.  His  influence,  overflowing  into  all  the  channels 
of  our  life,  cannot  be  adequately  described,  but  I  would 
invite  you,  my  brethren,  to  consider  it  in  its  relation  to 
the  national  sentiment,  to  the  moral  and  social  better- 
ment of  the  people  and  to  the  religious  life  of  the  nation." 

Even  more  than  at  the  services  in  the  Cathedral  the 
affection  of  the  Hierarchy  and  priesthood  for  Gibbons 
was  shown  in  the  atmosphere  which  pervaded  a  dinner 
in  honor  of  the  visiting  Bishops,  held  on  the  same  day  at 
St.  Mary's  Seminary.  With  restraint  removed,  there 
was  a  singular  demonstration  of  what  may  be  termed 
the  general  state  of  mind — the  morale,  it  would  be  called 
in  secular  life — of  the  higher  organization  of  the  Church 
in  this  country.  Under  Gibbons,  a  born  leader,  as  his 
colleagues  had  abundantly  testified,  the  spirit  of  devotion 
to  their  chief,  the  happy  personal  relations  existing  be- 
tween them  and  him  and  the  inspiration  to  general  har- 
mony and  aggressive  work  would  have  served  as  a  model 
for  any  man  whose  life  is  spent  in  the  organization  of 
large  material  undertakings. 

Gibbons  was  not  more  ready  to  lead  than  the  Bishops 
and  clergy  were  to  follow.  Possessing  an  almost  unique 
faculty  for  reaching  into  the  inner  lives  of  a  great  number 
of  persons,  even  the  remembrance  of  whose  names  would 
overtax  the  memory  of  an  ordinary  individual,  he  had 


bound  them  to  him  by  the  strongest  ties.  They  trusted 
and  loved  him  and  believed  in  his  justice;  more  than  that, 
they  saw  in  his  leadership  a  powerful  force  which  made 
their  own  efforts  visibly  more  fruitful  in  dioceses  through- 
out the  land.  Their  own  standing  in  the  public  view 
was  enhanced  by  his  prestige.  If  any  scoffer  doubted  that 
the  Catholic  Church  produced  the  highest  and  best  type 
of  manhood,  the  choice  fruit  and  flower  of  religious  life, 
they  could  point  to  Gibbons.  He  was  an  exemplar  for 
the  whole  Church  and  a  help  to  the  whole  Church.  His 
unceasing  labors  for  years,  often  in  the  face  of  discour- 
agements that  would  have  crushed  a  less  resolute  soul, 
seeing  clearly  where  the  view  was  dark  to  others,  heeding 
not  misunderstanding  and  distrust,  had  become  an  influ- 
ence which  was  felt  in  the  humblest  mission  in  the  land, 
no  less  than  in  the  splendid  temples  of  the  Catholic  faith 
whose  spires  pointed  to  heaven  in  the  seats  of  the  archi- 
episcopal  sees. 

This  discipline,  using  the  word  in  its  ordinary  and  not 
its  ecclesiastical  sense,  was  the  discipline  of  armies  which 
win  battles;  of  governments  which  accomplish  large  and 
sustained  results;  of  great  industrial  undertakings  whose 
activities  span  the  civilized  world.  To  whatever  extent 
it  had  existed  in  the  Church  in  America  before,  it  had 
been  greatly  amplified  by  Gibbons.  He  had  inspired 
every  Catholic  with  a  new  spirit  of  confidence. 

The  unity  and  obedience  which  are  fundamental  in  the 
system  of  the  Church  must  produce  cohesion  always. 
Thus  she  proceeds  serenely  as  a  compact  unit  upon  her 
mission  to  the  souls  of  men.  In  the  same  general  sense, 
but  of  course  by  different  methods  and  for  different  aims, 


armies  are  disciplined,  obeying  their  officers  according  to 
gradations  of  rank;  but  not  every  army  conquers,  how- 
ever obedient  to  the  will  and  guidance  of  its  leader.  Gib- 
bons inspired  American  Catholics  much  in  the  same  way 
that  the  great  generals  of  history  have  inspired  their 
troops.  Whatever  successes  they  were  able  to  win  with- 
out him,  their  potency  was  multiplied  by  the  consummate 
skill  of  their  leader  and  the  conquering  enthusiasm  which 
he  inspired  by  means  of  his  own  personality. 

In  the  addresses  at  the  feast  of  good  feeling  at  the 
seminary,  words  proceeded  straight  from  the  hearts  of 
those  who  spoke  them.  Simple  truth  and  affectionate 
hope  predominated.  Archbishop  Farley  went  so  far  as 
to  express  the  wish  that  "before  he  is  gathered  to  the 
golden  gate  of  eternity  our  American  Cardinal  might  pass 
still  higher  to  the  one  great  place  in  Rome,"  meaning 
of  course,  the  Papacy. 

Archbishop  Ireland  declared  that  "it  was  Cardinal 
Gibbons  who  was  the  chief  factor  in  bringing  home  to  the 
American  Church  the  opportunities  for  growth  and  suc- 
cess under  the  guidance  of  this  free  country."  He  pro- 
ceeded : 

"Often  as  I  watched  with  straining  eyes  this  ship  of 
ours  I  asked  myself  'How  is  it  in  Baltimore  *?'  for  I  knew 
that  Cardinal  Gibbons  was  there.  I  knew  his  power  and 
prestige — whether  it  be  a  question  of  political  or  ecclesias- 
tical importance — and  I  knew  that  standing  there  on  the 
deck  of  our  ship  Cardinal  Gibbons  was  at  the  helm.  And 
let  me  tell  you  that  he  always  gave  the  helm  the  right 

"The  providential  gift  to  America  in  the  last  fifty 
years  was  James  Gibbons.     I  have  differed  with  him 


sometimes  as  I  watched  Baltimore  to  see  how  things  were 
going.  I  thought  that  perhaps  his  Eminence  might  go 
faster,  or  he  might  go  slower,  or  that  he  might  go 
straighter  instead  of  taking  the  roundabout  path,  but 
when  all  was  over  he  had  given  the  helm  the  right  twist." 

Bishop  Donahue,  of  Wheeling,  recalling  the  years  he 
spent  in  the  household  of  Gibbons,  said : 

"They  say  you  must  live  with  a  man  to  know  him,  and 
if  that  be  true,  then,  privileged  as  I  was  to  live  at  the 
archiepiscopal  residence  with  his  Eminence,  I  found  my 
superior  a  prelate  worthy  of  the  best  ages  of  faith,  a  liv- 
ing, breathing  exponent  of  all  that  was  good  in  a  Car- 
dinal of  the  Holy  Catholic  Church." 

Bishop  Donahue  then,  in  a  delicately  humorous  man- 
ner which  made  the  Cardinal  smile,  told  of  some  of  his 
personal  traits,  and  said: 

"His  Eminence  is  a  painful  model  of  punctuality  and 
the  virtue  of  doing  the  most  with  the  time  God  gives  us 
here  on  earth.  Many  a  high  prelate  of  this  distinguished 
presence  has  caught  a  train  by  a  hair's  breadth  and  hung 
on  by  his  coat  tails  only  to  find  his  Eminence  safely  with- 
in the  arms  of  a  chair  inside  the  car.  Punctuality,  how- 
ever, while  a  virtue  of  the  Cardinal,  is  not  a  cardinal  vir- 
tue, and  while  you  can't  teach  old  persons  new  tricks  I 
recommend  this  virtue  to  the  young  priests  here  assem- 

There  were  many  other  expressions  of  love  and  grati- 
tude. Gibbons  had  not  expected  to  make  any  response, 
but  he  was  so  overwhelmed  by  the  evident  sincerity  of 
his  brethren  that  he  was  moved  to  reconsider  his  decision. 
He  exclaimed : 


"Honors  I  have  had  in  my  life  until  I  am  almost 
ashamed,  but  I  assure  you,  in  the  presence  of  God,  that  I 
cherish  one  grain  of  your  love  more  than  all  the  lauda- 
tions which  have  been  heaped  upon  me.  When  I  con- 
trast the  difficulties  which  encompassed  us  in  the  former 
days  and  the  enlightened  conditions  of  to-day,  with 
prejudice  almost  entirely  swept  away,  I  see  a  great  vision 
of  a  future  when  there  shall  be  but  one  God,  one  faith 
and  one  baptism." 

Such  an  occasion  as  the  jubilee  could  not  fail  to  de- 
velop many  anecdotes  of  association  with  Gibbons,  or 
influences  which  he  had  produced.  Monsignor  Patter- 
son, of  Boston,  told  of  addressing  a  large  class  of  young 
men,  and  asking  if  some  one  of  them  would  mention  the 
name  of  a  truly  great  man.  A  member  of  the  class,  who 
had  met  the  Cardinal  and  heard  him  preach,  at  once 
mentioned  Gibbons.  Monsignor  Patterson  asked  why  he 
considered  the  Cardinal  a  truly  great  man. 

"Because,"  replied  the  young  student,  "he  is  a  truly 
humble  man." 

On  the  following  night,  Monday,  there  was  a  public 
parade  in  Baltimore  in  honor  of  the  jubilee.  Those  who 
organized  it,  and  who  did  not  lack  the  optimism  cus- 
tomary in  such  cases,  had  predicted  that  twenty  thousand 
persons  would  march.  When  the  time  came  to  compute 
the  number  actually  in  line,  it  was  found  that  they  had 
swelled  to  thirty-one  thousand. 

The  parade  was  made  up  of  Catholic  organizations 
from  Baltimore  and  Washington  and  groups  from  par- 
ishes, many  of  whom  were  in  emblematic  costumes.  Gib- 
bons reviewed  the  procession  from  the  Cathedral  portico, 


and  was  naturally  amazed  at  the  extent  of  it.  In  a  letter 
of  thanks  to  those  who  had  participated,  he  wrote : 

"They  were  great  moments  when  I  sat  in  front  of  the 
Cathedral  and  viewed  the  noble  throng  passing." 

Gibbons  was  particularly  active  in  encouraging  lay 
organizations  within  the  Church,  and  one  of  the  events 
of  his  jubilee  was  a  general  convention  in  Baltimore  of 
the  Holy  Name  Society,  whose  aim  is  to  suppress  pro- 
fanity and  immorality  in  general.  He  made  an  address 
to  the  convention  in  which  he  exhorted  the  members  to 
renewed  efforts. 

There  were  numerous  receptions  and  other  events  in 
honor  of  the  festivities  of  the  week,  and  on  Thursday  a 
special  service  was  held  at  the  Cathedral  for  children. 
Delegations  visited  Gibbons,  presenting  to  him  addresses 
and  gifts,  the  latter  including  a  rosary  of  gold  nuggets 
from  the  Knights  of  Columbus.  At  St.  Mary's  Industrial 
School,  the  institution  for  boys  in  which  he  found  so 
often  vent  for  his  desire  to  show  his  interest  in  the  young, 
a  large  chapel  named  in  his  honor  had  just  been  erected, 
and  he  was  present  at  the  services  of  dedication.  So  far 
did  his  interest  in  the  school  extend  that  he  sometimes 
turned  aside  from  his  greatest  preoccupations  to  pay  a 
visit  to  it,  or  to  lend  his  advice  and  guidance  upon  some 
subject  connected  with  its  management  or  discipline.  The 
welfare  of  a  waif  seemed  no  less  precious  to  him  than  the 
welfare  of  a  President. 


The  records  of  written  and  spoken  words  leave  no 
doubt  that  there  was  a  distinct  vein  of  the  prophetic  in 
Gibbons.  We  have  already  seen  that  on  that  Good 
Friday  night  in  1865  when  Lincoln  was  assassinated  he 
preached  in  Baltimore  a  few  hours  before  the  President 
was  stricken  down,  picturing  the  general  outline  of  the 
circumstances  of  that  event  without  any  conscious  idea 
that  the  "benevolent  ruler"  of  whose  sudden  end  he  was 
speaking,  apparently  as  an  imaginative  simile,  was  the 
head  of  his  own  nation.  Another  instance  was  given  on 
the  morning  of  February  7,  1904,  when  the  great  Balti- 
more fire  began,  whose  ravages  spread  within  one  hun- 
dred yards  of  the  archiepiscopal  residence  and  would 
have  destroyed  it  had  not  the  wind  changed. 

It  was  the  first  Sunday  of  the  month,  and,  as  usual  on 
such  occasions,  the  Cardinal  had  prepared  in  advance  a 
sermon  to  be  delivered  at  the  Cathedral.  The  topic  which 
he  had  chosen  for  his  discourse  was  "The  Uses  of  Ad- 
versity," and  it  could  scarcely  have  been  more  appropri- 
ate had  he  intended  it  directly  for  the  guidance  of  the 
congregation  with  full  knowledge  of  the  impending 
calamity.  He  enumerated  some  of  the  reverses  of  for- 
tune to  which  human  beings  are  subject,  such  as  a  fall 



from  opulence  to  poverty  and  a  sudden  visitation  of 
Providence,  and  proceeded: 

"If  tribulation  is  a  law  of  human  life,  it  is  also,  thank 
God,  a  law  and  condition  of  Christian  progress  and  per- 
fection. .  .  .  The  teaching  of  Christian  philosophy  with 
regard  to  the  uses  of  adversity  may  be  summed  up  in  one 
short  sentence — that  it  is  to  be  borne  with  patience  and 
even  with  joy.  .  .  .  What  we  call  accidents  are  links 
in  the  chain  of  our  immortal  destiny." 

Enumerating  afflictions  to  be  borne  with  patience,  he 
gave  the  illustration  of  a  person  inordinately  attached 
to  earthly  riches,  in  whose  case  "a  financial  crash  comes 
which  reduces  you  to  straitened  circumstances.  You  are 
thereby  admonished  to  accept  the  situation  in  the  spirit 
of  Job,  and  to  say  with  him  'The  Lord  hath  given  and  the 
Lord  hath  taken  away.  Blessed  be  the  name  of  the 
Lord.'  " 

He  warned  against  considering  any  trial  as  crushing, 
quoting  from  the  Persian  poet  Sadi  as  follows : 

"Once  I  murmured  at  the  vicissitudes  of  fortune  when 
my  feet  were  bare,  and  I  had  not  the  means  of  procuring 
shoes.  I  entered  a  mosque  with  a  heavy  heart,  and  there 
beheld  a  man  deprived  of  his  feet.  I  offered  up  my 
praise  and  thanksgiving  to  Heaven  for  its  bounty,  and 
bore  with  patience  the  want  of  shoes." 

The  admonition  was  especially  appropriate  to  the  con- 
gregation of  the  Cathedral,  which  embraced  an  excep- 
tionally large  proportion  of  the  wealthy  men  whose  places 
of  business  in  downtown  Baltimore  were  about  to  be 
reduced  to  ruins. 


As  the  service  began,  there  had  been  no  indication  that 
a  great  fire  had  started,  but  when  Gibbons  left  the 
church  after  its  conclusion  he  found  the  streets  thronged 
with  excited  people  and  resounding  with  the  clang  of  fire 
engines.  Some  hours  later,  large  embers  began  to  fall  on 
the  Cathedral  grounds  and  an  ash  tree  in  the  yard,  naked 
of  foliage  in  the  winter  wind,  caught  fire.  All  that  day 
and  the  next  the  conflagration  continued,  causing  a  loss 
estimated  at  $125,000,000  and  visiting  upon  Baltimore 
one  of  the  most  appalling  blows  which  any  American  city 
ever  sustained.^ 

Gibbons  had  arranged  to  start  for  New  Orleans  for  a 
visit  to  his  brother  on  the  evening  of  the  first  day  of  the 
fire,  and  he  left  before  the  disaster  had  reached  its  full 
extent.  Not  until  he  arrived  in  New  Orleans  did  he  learn 
that  the  principal  business  district  of  the  city,  the  dis- 
trict in  which  he  had  been  accustomed  to  take  many  of 
his  noonday  walks,  had  been  laid  in  ashes. 

The  treasured  archives  of  the  diocese,  from  Carroll's 
time  down,  were  stored  in  his  residence  and  would  have 
been  destroyed  had  the  flames  swept  only  a  little  further 
north.  His  predecessors  had  been  content  to  leave  them 
in  loose  heaps  or  in  barrels,  but  he  had  taken  pains  to 
have  them  carefully  sorted  out  and  indexed  in  a  manner 
worthy  of  their  value.  The  danger  to  which  they  were 
subjected  by  the  great  fire  was  not  forgotten.  By  his 
direction  the  archives  were  removed  to  a  space  beneath 
the  Cathedral,  where  they  were  comparatively  safe  from 
another  disaster  of  the  same  kind. 

In  some  of  the  chief  events  of  his  life  his  course  was 

*HalI,  History  of  Baltimore,  p.  343. 


such  as  to  seem,  in  the  light  of  future  events,  to  have 
been  based  upon  fore-knowledge.  When  struggling 
against  ecclesiastical  condemnation  of  the  Knights  of 
Labor,  he  had  taken  the  ground  that  that  organization 
contained  within  itself  the  seeds  of  dissolution,  and  that 
in  a  short  time  it  would  probably  be  so  insignificant  in 
importance  that  the  ban  of  the  Church  against  it  would 
mean  little,  while  condemnation  would  be  taken  as  a  di- 
rect rebuke  to  the  general  aspiration  of  labor  to  organize 
for  its  own  betterment.  This  view,  amply  verified  later, 
he  expressed  at  a  time  when  many  observers  of  the  situa- 
tion were  predicting  that  the  organization  of  the  Knights 
would  spread  to  such  gigantic  proportions  that  it  would 
dominate  the  political  life  of  the  country  and  become 
in  effect  a  dictatorship. 

Again,  had  Gibbons  possessed  knowledge  that  the 
World  W^ar  was  little  more  than  a  decade  and  a  half 
distant,  he  could  scarcely  have  been  more  urgent  in  de- 
manding that  the  Cahensly  movement  for  solidifying  for- 
eign national  groups  in  the  Church  in  America  should  be 
throttled.  His  course  throughout  the  struggle  against 
Cahenslyism  appeared  to  be  based  upon  a  realization  that 
the  danger  of  foreign  influence  impairing  American  unity 
was  at  the  door  of  his  country  instead  of  being  remote, 
as  so  many  leaders  of  public  opinion  were  inclined  to 
think.  He  summoned  every  resource  at  his  command  in 
order  to  stay  the  movement,  almost  as  if  he  had  been 
engaged  in  the  physical  defense  of  the  country  against 
an  alien  invader.  His  effort  was  put  forth,  as  if  by  in- 
sight, so  that  it  would  begin  to  produce  the  maximum  ef- 
fect about  the  time  the  World  War  actually  began.    In 


view  of  the  fact  that  the  obstacles  to  coalescing  public 
sentiment  in  the  United  States  without  a  period  of  prep- 
aration after  the  European  nations  were  already  locked  in 
conflict  were  one  of  the  chief  causes  which  delayed 
American  participation  with  the  Allies,  it  is  not  difficult 
to  take  the  view  that  the  campaign  against  Cahenslyisni 
waged  by  Gibbons  in  the  years  1886-1891  was  nothing 
short  of  a  providential  forerunner  of  the  course  of 

Gibbons  bestowed  upon  the  Catholic  University  the 
affection  which  a  devoted  parent  might  lavish  upon  a 
favorite  child.  "From  the  beginning,"  he  said,  "the 
university  has  been  for  me  an  object  of  deepest  personal 
concern.  Through  its  growth  and  through  all  the  vicissi- 
tudes which  it  has  experienced,  it  has  been  very  near  to 
my  heart.  It  has  cost  me,  in  anxiety  and  tension  of  spirit, 
far  more  than  any  other  of  the  duties  or  cares  which  have 
fallen  to  my  lot.  But  for  this  reason,  I  feel  a  greater 
satisfaction  in  its  progress."  ^  Pius  X,  in  a  letter  to 
Gibbons  encouraging  the  work  of  the  university  in  1912, 
wrote  that  "we  have  good  reason  to  congratulate  first  of 
all  you,  beloved  son,  to  whose  solicitous  and  provident 
care  we  ascribe  the  prosperous  condition  of  the  uni- 

A  blow  which  almost  crushed  Gibbons  was  the  failure 
in  business  in  1904  of  Thomas  E.  Waggaman,  treasurer 
of  the  university,  as  a  result  of  which  $850,000  of  its  in- 
vestments were  temporarily  lost  and  never  fully  regained. 
He  was  overwhelmed  by  this  at  first;  but  threw  all  his 
strength  into  a  determined  effort  to  recover  for  the  uni- 

"  Bishop  Shahan  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Revieiv,  May,  1921. 


versity  what  it  had  lost.  Contributions  were  sent  to  him 
by  non-Catholics  as  well  as  Catholics,  including  not  a 
few  from  men  prominent  in  public  life  who  had  learned 
to  admire  him,  and  to  whom  the  pathetic  aspect  of  his 
loss  strongly  appealed. 

Some  large  gifts  were  subsequently  made  to  the  uni- 
versity, and  these  sustained  Gibbons  in  his  hopefulness 
for  the  institution.  He  wrote  a  letter  of  warm  apprecia- 
tion to  the  Knights  of  Columbus  in  June,  1913,  when 
they  presented  $500,000  to  the  institution  for  the  per- 
petual education  of  fifty  lay  students  there.  The  Knights 
had  previously  given  $50,000  to  found  a  chair  of  Ameri- 
can history.  He  lived  to  see  the  resources  of  the  uni- 
versity reach  a  total  valuation  of  $5,000,000. 

April  15,  19,15,  was  one  of  the  brightest  days  of  the 
Cardinal's  life,  for  then  the  university,  in  the  presence 
of  a  great  gathering  of  the  Hierarchy  and  clergy,  cele- 
brated the  twenty-fifth  anniversary  of  its  opening.  He 
delivered  the  sermon  at  a  Pontifical  High  Mass  cele- 
brated in  St.  Patrick's  Church,  Washington,  to  mark 
the  event,  saying: 

"The  experience  of  these  twenty-five  years  empha- 
sizes the  needs  which  the  university  aims  to  supply — 
the  need  of  Divine  truth  to  complete  our  human  knowl- 
edge, of  Divine  justice  as  the  highest  sanction  of  law,  of 
the  spirit  of  Christ  in  our  ministrations  of  mercy  and  love. 
There  is  no  real  liberty  without  law,  and  there  is  no 
meaning  or  validity  to  law  unless  it  be  observed. 

"The  growth  of  democracy  does  not  imply  that  each 
man  shall  become  a  law  unto  himself,  but  that  he  shall 
feel  in  himself  the  obligation  to  obey.  If  the  enacting 
power  has  been  transferred  from  the  will  of  the  ruler 


to  the  will  of  the  people,  the  binding,  coercive  power 
has  been  laid  with  greater  stress  of  responsibility  than 
ever  before  upon  the  individual  conscience. 

"Unless  men  be  taught  that  obedience  is  right  and 
honorable  and  necessary  alike  for  private  interest  and 
the  public  weal,  legislation  will  avail  but  little,  the  law- 
making power  will  become  a  mockery  and  the  people 
themselves  will  complain  that  legislation  has  been  car- 
ried to  excess. 

"But  conscience  has  need  of  a  higher  sanction  than 
any  merely  human  sense  of  justice.  To  meet  the  require- 
ments of  our  religious,  social  and  political  situation  is  a 
duty  that  we  owe  to  the  Church  and  to  our  country.  To 
fulfill  it  we  must  combine  our  efforts,  and  I  rejoice  that 
in  the  Catholic  University  a  centre  of  thought  and  action 
has  been  provided." 

A  letter  from  Benedict  XV  was  read,  commending  the 
institution  in  the  highest  terms,  and  felicitating  it  upon 
the  work  which  it  was  doing  for  the  people  among  whom 
it  was  planted.    He  wrote: 

"We  love,  nay,  we  dearly  cherish  the  American  people, 
forceful  as  they  are  with  the  vigor  of  youth  and  second  to 
none  in  efficiency  of  action  and  thought.  And  as  we  ear- 
nestly desire  that  an  ever-widening  path  to  the  highest 
level  of  human  achievement  may  open  before  them,  so 
we  cannot  but  feel  the  deepest  pleasure  at  everything  that 
furthers  their  progress." 

Gibbons  reposed  great  confidence  in  Bishop  Shahan, 
the  rector  of  the  university  in  the  closing  years  of  his  life, 
under  whose  administration  its  progress  consoled  him  for 
some  of  his  earlier  disappointments. 

He  often  took  the  opportunity  on  important  ecclesias- 


tical  occasions  to  implant  the  view  that  the  performance 
of  civic  duty  was  a  part  of  a  Christian's  responsibility. 
At  the  celebration  of  the  centenary  of  the  New  York 
archdiocese  in  1908,  he  delivered  the  sermon  in  St. 
Patrick's  Cathedral  April  29,  on  which  occasion  Car- 
dinal Logue  celebrated  Pontifical  Mass;  and  Arch- 
bishop Falconio,  the  Apostolic  Delegate,  imparted  the 
Papal  benediction.  In  the  sermon  he  dwelt  upon  the 
strong  men  who  had  helped  to  build  up  the  diocese  since 
it  was  separated  from  the  mother  See  of  Baltimore  by 
Pius  VII.  He  regarded  Archbishop  Hughes  as  having 
been  providentially  raised  to  meet  the  exigencies  of  the 
times,  as  Carroll  had  been.  Of  the  piety  and  learning 
of  Archbishop  Corrigan,  his  opponent  in  the  consideration 
of  so  many  questions  on  which  leaders  of  the  Church 
might  naturally  differ,  he  did  not  fail  to  speak  in  terms 
of  warm  praise.  To  the  whole  assembly  he  addressed  this 
admonition : 

"Take  an  active,  loyal,  personal  interest  in  all  that 
concerns  the  temporal  and  spiritual  welfare  of  our  be- 
loved country.  No  man  should  be  a  drone  in  the  social 
beehive.  No  one  should  be  an  indifferent  spectator  of 
the  social,  economic  and  political  events  occurring  around 
him.  As  you  all  enjoy  the  protection  of  a  strong  and 
enlightened  government,  so  should  each  man  have  a  share 
in  sustaining  the  burden  of  the  Commonwealth.  Above 
all,  take  an  abiding  and  a  vital  interest  in  all  that  affects 
your  holy  religion."  ^ 

Feeling  that  the  problems  of  Catholics  throughout  the 
English-speaking  countries   in  contending  with  misun- 

"McNally,  The  Catholic  Centennial,  pp.  52-61. 


derstanding  were  much  the  same,  Gibbons  showed  an  es- 
pecial desire  to  cooperate  with  his  brethren  of  the  faith 
in  those  countries.  He  accepted  an  invitation  to  attend 
the  International  Eucharistic  Congress  in  Montreal  in 
September,  1910.  Cardinal  Vincent  Vannutelli  at- 
tended the  Congress  in  the  capacity  of  Papal  Legate,  as 
he  had  attended  the  London  congress  two  years  before, 
but  under  far  different  circumstances;  for  government 
and  people,  in  Canada,  under  the  same  flag  that  floated 
over  the  mother  country,  welcomed  him  with  a  cordiality 
which  was  in  striking  contrast  to  his  cool  reception  in 
the  British  metropolis.  Accompanied  by  Cardinals  Gib- 
bons and  Logue  he  carried  the  Host  through  the  streets 
in  a  procession  which  was  five  hours  in  passing.  Non- 
Catholics  as  well  as  Catholics  watched  reverently  in  the 
throngs  which  turned  out  to  witness  that  religious  spec- 
tacle, and  no  untoward  incident  marked  the  events  of  the 
day.  Gibbons  preached  at  the  Pontifical  High  Mass  in 
the  Cathedral  of  St.  James. 

"Your  Eminence  will  be  able  to  recount  to  the  Holy 
Father,"  he  said  to  Cardinal  Vannutelli  in  conclusion, 
"the  success  which  has  crowned  this  congress  from  be- 
ginning to  end.  .  .  .  You  will  speak  of  the  solemn  pub- 
lic procession  through  the  streets  of  Montreal  not  only 
without  let  or  hindrance,  but  with  the  cordial  co-opera- 
tion and  approval  of  the  civic  authorities  and  the  piety 
and  enthusiasm  of  the  people." 

The  admiration  for  Gibbons  felt  by  the  world-wide 
representation  of  Catholics  assembled  in  the  city  was 
shown  at  a  fete  given  in  his  honor  by  Sir  Thomas  George 
Shaughnessy.    Soon  after  the  close  of  the  celebration  in 


Montreal,  Cardinal  Vannutelli  visited  him  in  Balti- 
more, where  the  Roman  prelate  was  welcomed  with  a 
procession  in  which  leading  men  of  the  city  escorted  him 
to  the  Cathedral. 

Although  the  spirit  of  Gibbons  rebounded  from  many- 
experiences  which  would  have  unnerved  most  men,  he 
was  plunged  into  depths  of  despondency  when  he  discov- 
ered that  one  of  his  priests,  the  pastor  of  a  small  congre- 
gation in  Baltimore,  had  become  overwhelmed  in  specu- 
lation and  had  accumulated  debts  amounting  to  more 
than  $30,000.*  This  priest  had  felt  an  ambition  to  erect 
a  new  church  for  his  people,  and,  realizing  that  in  their 
poverty  they  would  be  unable  to  pay  for  it,  he  had  con- 
ceived the  plan  of  embarking  in  financial  ventures  with 
a  view  to  raising  the  money  through  what  he  vainly  sup- 
posed to  be  his  own  skill  in  business.  He  paid  one  debt 
by  contracting  another  until  finally  the  nature  of  his 
operations  became  known  to  the  Cardinal.  The  priest 
was  removed  at  once  from  his  pastorate  and  sent  to  a 
sanatorium,  for  the  mania  on  the  subject  of  speculation 
which  he  had  developed  was  pronounced  by  medical  opin- 
ion to  be  a  form  of  insanity. 

Gibbons  was  so  overcome  that  the  priests  of  his  house- 
hold were  shocked  at  intervals  for  several  days  to  observe 
him  wringing  his  hands  and  declaring  that  his  life  had 
been  wrecked — that  life  which  had  left  so  many 
deep  impressions  upon  the  world!  That  no  person 
might  suffer  from  the  wrong  which  had  been  done,  he 
pledged  himself  to  pay  every  dollar  that  the  priest  owed, 
although  there  was  no  legal  obligation  upon  him  to  do  so. 

*  March,  1909. 


By  energetic  efforts  he  obtained,  in  less  than  six  months, 
enough  funds  to  discharge  the  last  of  the  debts.  When 
attempts  were  made  to  explain  the  priest's  conduct  on 
the  ground  of  mental  irresponsibility.  Gibbons  would  ad- 
mit no  trace  of  excuse  for  it.  So  keenly  did  he  feel  the 
reproach  which  he  feared  would  be  brought  upon  the 
Church  that  it  made  him  ill. 

A  discussion  which  attracted  marked  attention  in  the 
Christian  world  in  1910  was  between  Cardinal  Gibbons 
and  Thomas  A.  Edison,  the  famous  inventor,  on  the  sub- 
ject of  immortality.  Edison  denied  the  doctrine.  Rea- 
soning as  a  material  scientist,  he  asserted  that  man  was 
not  an  individual,  but  a  collection  of  myriads  of  individ- 
uals as  a  city  was.    He  expounded  his  theory  thus : 

"The  cell,  minute  and  little  known,  is  the  real  and  only 
individual.  A  man  is  made  up  of  many  million  cells. 
Not  being,  in  effect,  an  individual,  how  could  he  go  to 
heaven  or  hell  as  an  individual  or  be  given  a  reward  or 
punishment  after  death  had  caused  the  separation  of  his 
cells  and  the  diffusion  of  their  collective  intelligence*? 
.  .  .  We  are  no  more  individuals  than  cities  are.  .  .  . 
If  you  cut  your  hand  it  bleeds.  Then  you  lose  cells,  and 
that  is  quite  as  if  a  city  lost  inhabitants  through  some 
tremendous  accident." 

It  was  the  mind,  he  argued,  that  was  divine,  if  he 
should  admit  the  word  at  all,  and  mind  consisted  of  the 
collective  intellect  of  all  the  cells  which  constituted  a 
man.  To  punish  or  reward  the  combined  soul  of  the 
great  cell-collection  would  be  as  unjust  as  it  would  be 
impossible  and  "Nature  is  as  just  as  she  is  merciless." 
Edison  was  careful  to  say  that  this  did  not  affect  his  firm 


belief  in  the  "great  moral  law,"  which  he  summed  up  in 
the  precepts  of  the  Golden  Rule.    He  continued : 

"Science  proves  its  theories,  or  it  rejects  them.  I  have 
never  seen  the  slightest  scientific  proof  of  the  religious 
theories  of  heaven  and  hell ;  of  future  life  for  individuals 
or  of  a  personal  God.  .  .  .  Proof !  Proof !  That  is  what 
I  have  always  been  after;  that  is  what  my  mind  requires 
before  it  can  accept  a  theory  as  a  fact.  ...  I  do  not 
know  the  soul.  I  know  the  mind.  If  there  really  is  any 
soul,  I  have  found,  in  my  investigations,  no  evidence  of 

Edison  expressed  no  doubt  of  a  Supreme  Intelligence, 
but  could  not  personify  it.  Life,  it  appeared  to  him,  went 
on  endlessly,  but  no  more  in  human  beings  than  in  other 
animals  or  even  in  vegetables.  While  life,  collectively, 
must  be  immortal,  human  beings,  individually,  could  not 
be  such,  he  held,  because  they  were  not  individuals  but 
mere  aggregates  of  cells.  The  core  of  the  great  scientist's 
premise,  argument  and  conclusion  was  summed  up  in  the 
declaration:     "There  is  no  supernatural." 

Cardinal  Gibbons,  in  his  reply,  went  to  the  root  of  the 
question  by  pointing  out  that  while  Edison's  general 
theme  was  a  denial,  it  was  a  denial  based  on  assertion.^ 
He  wrote: 

"The  most  striking  assertion  is  his  fundamental  one 
that  cells  have  intelligence.  Mr.  Edison  does  not  try  to 
prove  it ;  he  asserts  it  over  and  over  again.  And  he  claims 
to  accept  no  scientific  fact  without  the  final  proof.  Now, 
who  ever  proved  the  existence  of  an  intelligent  cell? 
There  is  not  a  scintilla  of  proof,  not  the  beginning  of  a 
proof  for  such  an  assertion." 

'Columbian  Magazine,  March,  1911. 


The  Cardinal  cited  as  an  example  the  remark  of  Mr. 
Edison  that  when  one  cuts  his  hand  and  it  bleeds,  there  is 
a  loss  of  cells,  as  if  a  city  lost  some  of  its  inhabitants.  He 
reasoned : 

"If  my  hand  bleeds,  then,  according  to  his  theory,  I  lose 
part  of  my  intelligence.  If  I  lose  my  hand  then  I  lose 
more  intelligence;  and,  as  one  of  my  friends  put  it,  an 
appalling  loss  of  mind  would  go  with  the  loss  of  a  leg  or 
when  a  stout  man  reduces  in  flesh." 

It  seemed  to  him  that  "what  Edison  really  meant 
was  that  the  mind  is  made  up  of  the  combined  intelli- 
gence of  the  brain  cells;  but  so  far  as  science  knows, 
there  is  no  more  proof  of  the  existence  of  intelligence 
in  a  brain  cell  than  in  the  cell  of  a  potato."  He  pro- 
ceeded : 

"We  do  know  that  there  is  a  connection  between  the 
brain  and  the  mind,  that  the  mind  thinks  through  the  aid 
of  the  brain,  as  it  sees  through  the  aid  of  the  nerves  of  the 
eye;  but  that  does  not  prove  that  the  brain  thinks  any 
more  than  it  proves  that  the  nerves  of  the  eyes  see;  no 
more  even  than  it  would  prove  that  the  strings  of  a  violin 
enjoy  their  own  music.  If  we  do  not  know  that  cells 
have  intelligence,  how  can  we  know  that  any  combination 
of  cells  can  produce  intelligence?  Yet  Mr.  Edison  be- 
lieves it.  .  .  . 

"We  know  nothing,  then,  about  intelligent  cells;  but 
we  do  know  that  a  man  has  an  intelligent  mind  or  soul. 
We  do  not  distinguish  between  mind  and  soul  in  the  way 
Mr.  Edison  does,  in  his  unphilosophical  terminology. 
The  mind  is  the  soul  in  its  intellectual  operations." 

The  Cardinal  pointed  to  revealed  religion  as  proof  that 
the  soul  endures  after  death  and  proceeded: 


''Christ  brings  to  humanity  the  certainty  of  eternal 
life.  He  proved  it  by  His  own  resurrection ;  and,  if  any 
one  thinks  that  the  evidence  of  Christ's  resurrection  is 
weak,  I  ask  him  to  study  and  think  deeply  over  the  fif- 
teenth chapter  of  First  Corinthians.  No  sane  scholar 
denies  that  we  have  here  the  testimony  of  St.  Paul  him- 
self; nor  that  St.  Paul  is  honestly  setting  down  the  tes- 
timony of  those  who  claim  to  have  seen  our  Lord  after 
his  death.  If  so  many  sane  men,  Apostles  and  Disciples 
of  Christ,  are  mistaken;  if  they  can  not  believe  the  testi- 
many  of  their  own  eyes,  if  delusion  can  keep  such  a  firm 
hold  on  so  many  different  characters  for  so  many  years 
and  become  the  basis  of  all  their  beliefs  and  the  trans- 
forming power  of  their  lives,  then  no  human  testimony 
is  of  any  value;  then  let  us  close  our  courts  of  justice, 
for  no  case  is  proven  by  so  many  trustworthy  witnesses." 

The  Cardinal  also  showed  that  the  human  mind,  apart 
from  the  evidences  of  religion,  was  able  to  reason  up  to 
the  immortality  of  the  soul. 

Throughout  his  life,  he  retained  vivid  memories  of  his 
early  labors  in  North  Carolina,  and  he  did  not  allow  the 
associations  which  he  had  formed  there  to  lapse.  In  1910, 
he  preached  at  the  dedication  of  St.  Mary's  Pro-Cathedral 
in  Wilmington,  a  handsome  house  of  worship  which  suc- 
ceeded the  modest  church  in  which  he  had  sat  as  presid- 
ing Bishop  of  the  diocese  more  than  forty  years  before. 
Bishop  Haid  in  an  address  to  him  at  the  services  said  that 
"your  presence  here  to-day  is  but  another  proof  of  your 
undying  love  for  the  people  and  for  the  scenes  of  your 
earliest  episcopal  labors." 

In  the  same  year  the  North  Carolina  Society  of  Bal- 
timore presented  to  him  a  memorial  volume  filled  with 


manuscripts,  photographs,  and  prints  associated  with 
his  work  in  that  State.  In  accepting  it,  he  told  the  dele- 
gation of  the  society  which  called  at  his  residence  that 
the  people  of  North  Carolina  had  welcomed  him  in  1868 
with  open  arms,  regardless  of  faith,  and  he  expressed 
deep  gratitude  to  them.    He  added: 

"With  the  interest  of  a  young  lady  reading  her  first 
novel,  I  will  read  this  novel  of  my  younger  days.  After  I 
have  read  it,  it  will  be  placed  among  the  most  treasured 
archives  of  the  Cathedral  of  Baltimore." 

He  sustained  a  heavy  personal  loss  in  the  death  on 
February  11,  191 1,  of  Archbishop  Ryan,  of  Philadelphia, 
a  companion  and  prop  to  him  in  the  most  fruitful  years 
of  his  career.  Sharing  the  fate  of  men  who  live  excep- 
tionally long,  he  saw  one  after  another  of  those  who  had 
been  bound  closest  to  him  disappear  from  earth.  A  few 
days  before  Ryan's  death,  the  Cardinal  went  to  Philadel- 
phia to  visit  him.  Entering  the  sick  room,  he  placed  his 
hand  upon  the  Archbishop's  brow  and  said  softly : 

"Your  Grace  does  not  know  me." 

The  Archbishop,  who  had  been  hovering  on  the  verge 
of  unconsciousness,  answered  in  a  sudden  rally  of  his 
faculties : 

"I  know  every  tone  of  your  Eminence's  voice  and  now, 
as  ever,  I  am  convinced  that  you  are  the  instrument  of 
Providence  for  every  good  thing  for  our  Church  and 

The  sick  prelate,  seemingly  endowed  with  new 
strength,  talked  for  some  minutes  with  the  Cardinal. 
They  spoke  of  men  and  things  long  gone,  of  mutual  hopes 


that  had  blossomed  or  withered.  Naturally  their  thoughts 
turned  to  the  future  of  the  nation,  which  they  had  served 
so  faithfully. 

"If  we  keep  America  conservative,"  said  the  Arch- 
bishop, "no  country  will  be  as  great  as  this." 

Tears  were  in  the  eyes  of  Gibbons  as  he  departed  from 
the  house  of  the  dying.  Another  sympathizer,  a  Prot- 
estant, who  visited  the  Archbishop  shortly  before  the  end 
came,  said  that  it  seemed  like  entering  a  room  filled 
with  angels. 

One  of  the  views  which  Gibbons  held  tenaciously  was 
that  the  American  laity  should  take  an  active  and  en- 
lightened part  in  the  Church's  multiform  work  for  the 
welfare  of  humanity.  It  was  his  view  that  the  laity  in 
the  United  States  possessed  a  special  capacity  for  coop- 
eration with  the  Bishops  owing  to  their  independent  char- 
acter and  their  spirit  of  initiative.  In  an  address  at  the 
opening  of  a  convention  of  the  American  Federation  of 
Catholic  Societies  in  Milwaukee,  August  lo,  1913,  he 

"An  enlightened  and  zealous  laity  is  the  glory  of  the 
Christian  Church.  The  most  luminous  periods  of  the 
Church's  history  have  been  epochs  conspicuous  for  lay- 
men who  have  vindicated  the  cause  of  Christianity  by 
their  eloquence  and  their  writings,  as  well  as  by  the  sanc- 
tity of  their  lives. 

"Among  the  notable  defenders  of  the  Catholic  religion 
in  the  nineteenth  century  I  mention  Chateaubriand, 
Montalembert,  the  Count  de  Maistre  and  Frederick 
Ozanam,  in  France ;  Gorres,  Windhorst,  Mallinckrodt,  in 
Germany;  Donoso  Cortes,  in  Spain;  Sir  Kenelm  Digby, 
W.  G.  Ward  and  Frederick  Lucas,  in  England;  the 


peerless  O'Connell,  in  Ireland;  Brownson  and  many  other 
lights  in  the  United  States. 

"Let  us  indulge  the  hope — and  this  hope  I  cherish  in 
my  breast  when  I  contemplate  the  scene  before  me  today 
— that  God  will  raise  up  in  our  own  country  and  in  oui* 
own  day  a  formidable  number  of  champions  of  Christ, 
who  will  be  'a  light  to  the  revelation  of  the  Gentiles  and 
the  glory  of  the  people  of  Israel.' 

"If  I  may  single  out  one  society  without  prejudice  to 
the  merits  of  the  others,  I  will  name  in  a  particular  man- 
ner that  splendid  organization,  the  Knights  of  Columbus. 
They  are  our  joy  and  crown.  'They  are  the  glory  of  Je- 
rusalem. They  are  the  joy  of  Israel;  they  are  the  honor 
of  our  people.'  Wherever  calumny  raises  its  foul  head, 
they  are  ever  ready,  like  true  knights,  to  smite  the  enemy. 
Whenever  an  appeal  is  made  in  the  cause  of  religion  or 
charity,  they  are  always  foremost  in  lending  a  helping 

"Brethren  of  the  laity,  we  of  the  clergy  need  your  help. 
We  learn  from  the  history  of  the  primitive  Church  what 
valuable  aid  the  early  Christians  rendered  to  the  Apostles 
in  the  propagation  of  the  Gospel.  And  if  the  Apostles 
with  all  their  piety,  zeal  and  grace,  fresh  from  the  in- 
spiring presence  of  their  Master,  could  not  have  accom- 
plished what  they  did  without  the  assistance  of  the  laity, 
how  can  we,  who  have  not  the  measure  of  their  gifts,  hope 
to  spread  the  light  of  truth  without  your  hearty  concur- 

Gibbons  maintained  close  ties  with  St.  Charles'  Col- 
lege, where  he  had  pursued  his  early  studies  in  prepara- 
tion for  the  priesthood.  He  was  greatly  grieved  when 
the  college  was  destroyed  by  fire  March  17,  1911,  and, 
as  usual,  expressed  his  sentiments  in  acts,  contributing 
$10,000  to  aid  in  rebuilding  the  institution. 


His  last  meeting  with  Pius  X  was  in  the  course  of 
a  visit  to  Rome  in  the  Spring  of  1914,  when  he  took 
part  in  a  consistory,  Thomas  Nelson  Page,  the  American 
ambassador  in  that  city,  gave  a  luncheon  in  his  honor. 
On  May  26  Gibbons  entertained  sixty  guests  at  dinner, 
including  ten  Cardinals,  among  whom  were  Farley  and 

On  the  way  home  he  stopped  in  Switzerland,  where  he 
was  the  guest  of  Francis  de  Sales  Jenkins  at  Territet,  near 
Montreux,  on  the  shore  of  Lake  Geneva,  where  he  was 
invigorated  by  motor  trips  and  by  walks  in  the  surround- 
ing forests.  Queen  Elizabeth,  of  Belgium,  who  was  in 
that  vicinity,  having  expressed  her  desire  to  meet  him,  was 
invited  to  breakfast  at  the  residence  at  which  he  was  a 
guest,  where  Gibbons  received  her  both  with  graciousness 
and  with  the  honor  befitting  her  rank.  Soon  afterward 
he  proceeded  to  Brussels,  where  he  accepted  an  invitation 
to  visit  King  Albert  at  the  palace.  He  was  much  im- 
pressed by  the  King's  wide  knowledge  of  American  af- 
fairs, which  was  abundantly  in  evidence  later. 

In  London  he  was  the  guest  of  Cardinal  Bourne,  and 
received  the  deference  due  him  as  the  foremost  prelate 
of  the  English-speaking  world.  A  writer  in  the  London 
Universe  hailed  him  as  first  among  Americans,  saying: 

"Two  great  Americans  were  this  week  simultaneously 
in  London.  On  Tuesday,  I  was  privileged  to  chat  for  sev- 
eral minutes  with  the  greater.  The  other  is  Mr.  Roosevelt. 
.  .  .  Cardinal  Gibbons  is  a  greater  national  institution 
of  America  than  the  greatest  of  its  politicians.  .  .  . 
Whatever  has  been  achieved  in  the  building  up  of  Ameri- 
can greatness  has  been  due  in  no  small  measure  to  the 


leavening  power  in  the  States  of  Cardinal  Gibbons'  per- 

Gibbons  returned  to  Baltimore  July  13,  unconscious  of 
the  convulsion  which  was  soon  to  shake  some  of  the  coun- 
tries of  Europe  which  he  had  just  visited. 

He  passed  the  golden  jubilee  of  his  episcopate  in  1918 
and  was  besought  to  consent  to  a  great  celebration  of  that 
event,  but  all  plans  for  its  observance  on  a  large  scale  in 
Baltimore  in  the  autumn  were  dropped  because  of  a  gen- 
eral abandonment  of  public  gatherings  on  account  of  the 
influenza  epidemic,  which  cost  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
lives  throughout  the  civilized  world  in  that  year.  Bene- 
dict XV  honored  him  with  the  following  letter :  ® 

''To  Our  Beloved  Son^ 

''James  Cardinal  Gibbons, 
"Archbishop  of  Baltimore, 
"Beloved  Son,  Health  and  Apostolic  Benediction  : 

"We  have  lately  received  the  good  news  that  during 
the  coming  October,  on  the  happy  occasion  of  the  golden 
jubilee  of  your  episcopate,  your  fellow-citizens  purpose  to 
honor  you  with  signal  marks  of  their  affection  and  joy. 
Indeed,  in  so  illustrious  a  manner  have  you  won  the  high 
esteem  of  men  in  the  sight  of  all  your  fellow-Americans 
that  it  can  hardly  be  a  matter  of  surprise  that  not  only 
your  clergy  and  people,  bound  to  you  by  ties  of  affection, 
but  also  men  of  every  order,  should  join  in  paying  you 
honor.  May  you  enjoy  the  fruits  of  your  piety  and  re- 
ligious observance,  bearing  in  mind  that  an  abundant 
measure  of  reward  is  to  be  expected  from  Him  who 
'rendereth  unto  every  man  according  to  his  works.' 

"As  for  ourselves,  we  join  our  grateful  thanks  with 
yours  to  the  God  who  has  sustained  you,  and,  moreover, 

*  Cathedral  Archives,  Baltimore. 


we  wish  your  joy  to  be  augmented  by  our  own  congratu- 
lations, for,  indeed,  it  is  pleasing  to  us  to  fold  in  our 
fatherly  embrace  those  who,  like  yourself,  have  labored 
long  in  the  office  of  the  Good  Shepherd.  We  are  sending 
to  you  a  souvenir  of  the  happy  day,  which,  at  the  same 
time,  is  a  testimony  of  our  affection  for  you. 

"Moreover,  beseeching  God  to  regard  favorably  your 
supplications,  we  empower  you,  in  our  name,  on  the  day 
of  your  jubilee,  at  the  solemn  sacrifice,  to  bless  those  pres- 
ent, announcing  a  plenary  indulgence  to  be  gained  by  fol- 
lowing the  usual  conditions.  And  as  a  pledge  of  heavenly 
rewards  and  as  a  proof  of  our  own  affection  for  you,  be- 
loved son,  we  lovingly  in  the  Lord  impart  to  you  and 
yours  the  Apostolic  benediction. 

"Given  at  Rome,  at  St.  Peter's,  on  this  fourth  day  of 
September,  in  the  year  of  Our  Lord  one  thousand  nine 
hundred  and  eighteen  and  the  fifth  of  our  pontificate. 

"Benedict  PP.  XV." 

A  delegation  headed  by  the  Rt.  Rev.  Frederick  E. 
Keating,  Bishop  of  Northampton,  was  sent  by  the  Hier- 
archy of  England,  with  the  good  will  of  the  British  gov- 
ernment, to  express  the  congratulations  of  English  Cath- 
olics. A  French  delegation  headed  by  the  Rt.  Rev. 
Eugene  Julien,  Bishop  of  Arras,  also  came  to  present 
felicitations.  The  Church  in  Belgium  sent  Mgr.  Carton 
de  Wiart,  canon  of  the  diocese  of  Namur,  on  a  similar 

On  February  20  of  the  following  year  there  was  an 
imposing  celebration  of  the  jubilee  at  the  Catholic  Uni- 
versity, attended  by  more  than  eighty  prelates,  including 
Cardinals  O'Connell,  of  Boston,  and  Begin,  of  Quebec. 
On  that  occasion  a  purse  of  $50,000,  the  gift  of  his  fel- 
low-Archbishops and  Bishops,  was  presented  to  Gibbons. 


Archbishop  Cerretti,  then  assistant  Papal  Secretary  of 
State,  for  whom,  when  he  had  been  attached  to  the  Papal 
legation  in  Washington,  Gibbons  had  cherished  warm 
regard,  was  present  as  a  representative  of  the  Pope. 

Gibbons,  in  his  address,  spoke  from  the  viewpoint  of 
his  long  perspective  in  the  Church,  saying : 

"At  the  close  of  the  Third  Plenary  Council,  over  which 
I  had  the  honor  to  preside,  I  addressed  the  assembled  prel- 
ates and  referred  to  the  words  which  St.  Paul  wrote 
to  Timothy,  because  they  did  not  despise  my  youth.  If 
your  predecessors  in  the  episcopate  were  so  forbearing  to 
me  in  my  youthful  experiences,  you  have  always  been 
kind  and  considerate  to  me  in  my  declining  years. 

"I  am  today  the  sole  survivor  of  the  nearly  one  thou- 
sand Bishops  who  attended  the  Vatican  Council.  What 
is  still  more  noteworthy,  I  am  actually  the  only  survivor 
of  the  eighty  prelates  who  attended  the  Third  Plenary 
Council  of  1884.  The  last  to  descend  below  the  horizon 
of  the  tomb  was  the  venerable  patriarch  of  the  west,  the 
great  apostle  of  temperance,  the  patriot  whom  his  fellow- 
citizens  loved  to  honor,  without  distinction  of  race  or 
religion,  the  lion  of  the  fold  of  Judah.  I  refer  to  John 
Ireland,  Archbishop  of  St.  PauL" 

On  March  3  following,  sixteen  Cardinals  took  part  in 
the  celebration  of  Gibbons'  jubilee  in  his  titular  Church 
of  Santa  Maria  in  Trestevere,  Rome,  when  Cardinal 
Gasparri,  Papal  Secretary  of  State,  celebrated  Pontifical 
High  Mass. 


Cardinal  Gibbons'  code  of  civic  duty,  like  most  of  his 
other  fundamental  conceptions,  was  the  essence  of  sim- 
plicity. First,  he  thought  it  not  unworthy  to  cherish 
among  the  most  important  privileges  with  which  he  was 
endowed  the  rights  of  American  citizenship;  second,  he 
held  that  cherishing  the  value  of  those  rights  implied  the 
direct  duty  of  making  full  use  of  them ;  third,  he  seemed 
to  be  incapable  of  thinking  in  terms  of  class.  His  con- 
cern was  always  for  the  greatest  good  to  the  greatest 
number,  which  he  regarded  as  the  basis  upon  which  the 
citizen  should  cast  his  vote,  without  heading  the  call  of 
selfish  interest.  He  was  never  known  to  ask,  in  public 
or  private,  for  any  favor  to  the  Catholic  Church,  but  he 
was  ready  to  claim  for  her  at  all  times  the  same  full  pro- 
tection of  American  laws  which  he  freely  conceded  to 
other  religious  organizations.  There  was  nothing  in  the 
general  basis  of  this  program  which  any  citizen  might  not 

His  participation  in  public  affairs  was  a  by-product, 

just  as  it  must  be  in  the  case  of  the  great  majority  in  every 

democracy.    It  would  have  been  easy  for  him  to  escape  all 

unofficial  civic  responsibility — the  only  kind  which  it 

was  possible  for  him  to  exercise — without  any  adverse 

comment  upon  his  abstention.    He  might  have  shared  in 



the  aloofness  of  some  moralists  who  seek  to  avoid  "soil- 
ing their  hands"  with  such  things.  He  could  have  fallen 
in  with  the  custom  of  many  churchmen  of  all  creeds  who 
ignore  the  civic  relation  to  a  great  extent,  because  in  their 
view  it  is  not  a  part  of  their  spiritual  mission,  and  be- 
cause they  fear  that  their  motives  may  be  misunderstood. 
His  engrossing  preoccupation  with  other  affairs  would 
have  been  as  ready  a  reason  for  non-participation  in  the 
duties  of  the  citizen  by  himself  as  in  the  cases  of  mer- 
chants, lawyers  and  others  who  profess  to  have  no  time 
for  engaging  in  what  they  call  politics. 

It  was  not  in  the  nature  of  Gibbons,  however,  to  be  in 
the  world  and  not  of  it,  in  the  sense  of  striving  for  the 
betterment  of  the  world.  The  institutions  of  his  country 
seemed  to  him  not  to  be  merely  a  material  structure  pro- 
viding for  material  needs.  In  his  view  they  were  a  mani- 
festation of  the  workings  of  Divine  Providence  for  the 
welfare  of  men.  He  considered  America  to  be  a  provi- 
dential nation,  raised  to  diffuse  liberty  not  only  for  itself, 
but  as  an  example  to  the  world.  He  could  not  spare  any 
effort  which  he  felt  might  help  to  keep  it  true  to  that 

He  considered  that  one  of  his  chief  duties  every  year 
was  to  cast  his  vote,  and  only  sheer  physical  inability 
could  prevent  him  from  doing  so.  He  never  failed  to 
register  on  the  poll  books. 

Yet,  simple  as  this  creed  was,  so  sublimely  did  he  carry 
it  out  that  Americans  came  to  regard  him  as  their  fore- 
most citizen  outside  the  circle  of  high  official  life  and 
heeded  his  voice  as  perhaps  the  voice  of  no  one  since 
Washington.     The  quality  of  his  citizenship  became  a 


national  model.  It  was  unquestioned  that  he  was  not 
swayed  by  partisanship,  and  that  expediency  could  not 
affect  his  course  in  public  affairs.  In  times  when  popular 
opinion  was  distracted  by  the  selfish  clashes  of  political 
leaders  his  calm  counsel  was  eagerly  looked  for.  Whether 
he  happened  to  be  on  the  winning  side  of  a  question  (as 
in  regard  to  his  warnings  against  Socialism  and  Bolshe- 
vism) or  on  the  losing  side  (as  when  he  opposed  the 
woman  suffrage  and  prohibition  amendments)  seemed  to 
be  of  less  concern  to  the  mass  of  his  fellow-citizens,  than 
the  evident  fact  that  he  had  the  courage  to  express  his 
views  fearlessly  and  without  rancor  whenever  it  seemed 
to  him  to  be  necessary  to  do  so.  The  sanity  of  his  politi- 
cal thinking  seemed  to  be  unfailing.  He  was  the  spokes- 
man of  the  voiceless  multitude. 
On  one  occasion  he  said : 

"Nobody  knows  my  politics.  I  have  more  regard  for 
principles  than  for  men,  but,  of  course,  when  I  vote  I 
must  vote  for  some  man.  I  never  told  any  man  for  whom 
I  would  vote  in  any  election.  I  hold  myself  independent 
and  free  to  vote  each  time  as  it  seems  best,  according  to 
my  knowledge  and  conscience."  ^ 

In  a  letter  to  his  long-time  friend,  Ex-Senator  Henry 
G.  Davis,  of  West  Virginia,^  soon  after  the  latter's  nom- 
ination as  the  Democratic  party's  candidate  for  Vice- 
President,  he  wrote: 

*  Interview  in  the  New  York  IVorld,  August  6,  1912. 

*  Cardinal  Gibbons  had  met  Mr.  Davis  often  at  Deer  Park,  Md.,  a  re- 
sort in  the  Allegheny  Mountains,  where  he  used  to  go  for  periods  of 
rest  before  his  elevation  to  the  Cardinalate  and  at  intervals  for  a  few 
years  afterward.  On  one  ocasion  he  dined  with  Mr.  Davis  when  Presi- 
dent Harrison  was  a  guest  at  the  same  table.  (Pepper,  The  Life  and 
Times  of  Henry  Gassaway  Davis.) 


"Baltimore,  August  31,  1904. 
"Honorable  Henry  G.  Davis. 
"My  DEAR  Senator: 

".  .  .  My  first  impulse,  on  reading  of  your  nomination 
to  the  Vice-Presidency,  was  to  congratulate  you  on  the 
honor  conferred  on  you  by  your  fellow-citizens.  But  I 
hesitated  to  write,  fearing  that  my  letter  might  be  con- 
strued as  espousing  publicly  a  political  party. 

"The  delicate  position  in  which  I  feel  I  am  placed  has 
always  debarred  me  from  giving  public  expression  to  my 
political  views. 

"Whatever  may  be  the  outcome  of  the  campaign,  your 
friends,  among  whom  I  claim  to  be  one,  will  rejoice  in 
the  well-merited  distinction  conferred  on  you.  .  .  . 
"Faithfully  yours  in  Christ, 

"J.  Cardinal  Gibbons." 

Naturally  many  persons  sought  to  obtain  his  public 
support  of  the  candidacies  of  individuals,  or  to  learn, 
from  motives  of  curiosity,  whom  he  would  favor.  One 
of  these  persons  asked  him,  when  the  Presidential  cam- 
paign of  1912  was  in  the  period  of  its  greatest  intensity: 

"Have  you  a  favorite  candidate*?" 

"I  have,"  replied  Gibbons. 

"And  may  I  ask  who  it  is?" 

"You  may,"  the  Cardinal  answered. 

A  glance  of  keen  expectancy  was  directed  at  him,  and 
the  visitor  was  about  to  ask  the  name  of  the  candidate 
on  whose  side  he  was  when  the  twinkle  in  his  blue  eyes 
became  more  evident.  He  checked  the  discussion  at  that 
point  by  adding: 

"You  may  ask  me,  but  not  on  any  account  will  I  tell 
you.  I  did  not  say  that  I  would  tell  you,  if  you  will  re- 
member; I  said  only  that  you  might  ask." 


In  that  year  he  was  invited  to  offer  the  invocation  at 
the  opening  of  the  Democratic  National  Convention  in 
Baltimore  which  nominated  Woodrow  Wilson  for  Presi- 
dent.   His  prayer  upon  that  occasion  was: 

"We  pray  Thee,  O  God  of  might,  wisdom  and  justice, 
through  Whom  authority  is  rightly  administered,  laws 
are  enacted  and  judgment  decreed,  assist  with  Thy  Holy 
Spirit  of  counsel  and  fortitude  the  President  of  these 
United  States,  that  his  administration  may  be  conducted 
in  righteousness  and  be  eminently  useful  to  Thy  people 
over  whom  he  presides,  by  encouraging  due  respect  for 
virtue  and  religion,  by  a  faithful  execution  of  the  laws 
of  justice  and  mercy  and  by  restraining  vice  and  immo- 

"Let  the  light  of  Thy  Divine  Wisdom  direct  the  delib- 
erations of  this  convention  and  shine  forth  in  all  its  pro- 
ceedings and  enactments  so  that  they  may  tend  to  the 
preservation  of  peace  and  good  will  and  the  promotion 
of  concord  and  harmony. 

"May  authority  be  exercised  without  despotism,  and 
liberty  prevail  without  license.  May  this  convention 
demonstrate  once  more  to  the  American  people  and  to 
the  world  at  large  that  the  citizens  of  the  United  States 
have  solved  the  problem  of  self-government  by  exercising 
and  tolerating  the  broadest  and  most  untrammeled  free- 
dom of  discussion  in  their  political  assemblies,  without 
dethroning  reason  and  without  invading  the  sacred  and 
inviolable  domain  of  law  and  of  public  order. 

"May  the  delegates  assembled  to  select  a  candidate  for 
Chief  Magistrate  be  ever  mindful  that  they  are  the  sons 
of  the  same  Heavenly  Father,  that  they  are  brothers  of 
the  same  national  family,  that  they  are  fellow-citizens  of 
the  same  glorious  republic,  that  they  are  joint  heirs  of  the 
same  heritage  of  freedom,  and  may  it  be  their  highest 


ambition  to  transmit  this  precious  inheritance  unimpaired 
to  their  children  and  their  children's  children. 

"May  the  consciousness  of  this  community  of  interests 
and  of  destiny  banish  from  their  hearts  all  bitterness, 
hatred  and  ill  will,  and  inspire  them  with  sentiments  of 
genuine  charity,  benevolence  and  mutual  respect  and 

"We  commend  likewise  to  Thy  unbounded  mercy  all 
our  brethren  and  fellow-citizens  throughout  the  United 
States,  that  they  may  be  blessed  in  the  knowledge  and 
sanctified  in  the  observance  of  Thy  most  holy  law;  that 
they  may  be  preserved  in  union,  and  in  that  peace  which 
the  world  cannot  give,  and  after  enjoying  the  blessings 
of  this  life  that  they  may  be  admitted  to  those  which  are 

At  the  session  of  the  convention  at  which  this  prayer 
was  delivered,  Gibbons  sat  directly  in  front  of  William 
J.  Bryan,  who  leaned  over  in  his  seat  and  introduced  him- 
self to  the  Cardinal.  They  afterward  became  well  ac- 
quainted. Bryan  made  the  principal  speech  at  that  ses- 
sion, and  his  oratorical  delivery  was  a  subject  of  especial 
interest  to  Gibbons. 

When  it  was  announced  that  the  Cardinal  would  offer 
the  prayer  on  that  occasion,  a  letter,  supposed  to  have 
been  written  by  an  unbalanced  man,  was  sent  to  him, 
intimating  that  he  might  be  shot  if  he  persisted  in  his 
decision  to  offer  the  prayer.  Needless  to  say,  he  was 
unmoved  by  it. 

In  a  sermon  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on  November 
4  of  the  same  year,  two  days  before  the  election,  he  reaf- 
firmed his  belief  in  the  stability  of  the  Republic  and  the 
adequacy  of  the  Constitution.     He  pointed  out  that  it 


was  customary  for  gloomy  persons  to  indulge  in  forecasts 
of  evil  before  elections,  which  were  not  borne  out  by  sub- 
sequent developments.  In  the  American  system  of  sep- 
aration of  the  executive,  legislative  and  judicial  powers, 
he  saw  a  marked  influence  on  the  side  of  safety.  His 
main  concern  was  regarding  a  possible  lack  of  interest  on 
the  part  of  voters.    He  said : 

"It  is  my  profound  conviction  that  if  ever  the  republic 
is  doomed  to  decay,  if  the  future  historian  shall  ever 
record  the  decline  and  fall  of  the  American  republic,  its 
downfall  will  be  due,  not  to  a  hostile  invasion,  but  to 
the  indifference,  lethargy  and  political  apostasy  of  her 
own  sons. 

"And  if  all  citizens  are  bound  to  take  an  interest  in 
public  affairs,  that  duty  especially  devolves  on  those  who 
are  endowed  with  superior  intelligence  and  education,  and 
who  ought  to  be  the  leaders  and  exemplars  of  the  people, 
guiding  them  in  the  path  of  political  rectitude. 

"There  are  three  conspicuous  citizens  who  are  now 
candidates  for  the  Presidency.  Whatever  may  be  my 
private  and  personal  preference  and  predilection,  it  is  not 
for  me  in  this  sacred  pulpit  or  anywhere  else  publicly  to 
dictate  or  even  suggest  to  you  the  candidate  of  my  choice. 

"May  God  so  enlighten  the  minds  and  quicken  the  con- 
science, of  the  American  people  to  a  sense  of  their  civic 
duties  as  to  arouse  in  them  an  earnest  and  practical  inter- 
est in  the  coming  election,  and  may  He  so  guide  their 
hearts  that  they  will  select  a  Chief  Magistrate  whose  ad- 
ministration will  redound  to  the  material  prosperity  and 
moral  welfare  of  our  beloved  republic." 

He  also  offered  the  opening  prayer  at  the  beginning  of 
the  third  day's  session  of  the  Republican  National  Con- 
vention at  Chicago  in  1920,  which  nominated  Harding 


for  President.  The  first  part  of  the  prayer  upon  that 
occasion  was  almost  the  same  as  the  opening  paragraph 
of  the  one  delivered  at  Baltimore  eight  years  before.  It 
continued : 

"May  Thy  people  always  realize  the  truth  of  the  in- 
spired maxim  that  'Righteousness  exalteth  a  nation  but 
sin  maketh  a  people  miserable.'  May  they  realize  and 
take  to  heart  that  if  our  nation  is  to  be  perpetuated  in  the 
exercise  of  authority  with  liberty,  our  Government  must 
rest,  not  on  formidable  standing  armies,  not  on  dread- 
naughts,  for  the  'race  is  not  to  the  swift  nor  the  battle  to 
the  strong.' 

"Grant,  O  Lord,  that  the  administration  of  the  new 
Chief  Magistrate  may  redound  to  the  spiritual  and  mate- 
rial welfare  of  the  Commonwealth,  to  the  suppression  of 
sedition  and  anarchy;  and  to  the  strength  and  perpetuity 
of  our  civil  and  political  institutions. 

"I  have  been,  O  Lord,  in  my  day,  a  personal  and  living 
witness  of  the  many  tremendous  upheavals  which  threat- 
ened to  rend  the  nation  asunder,  from  the  inauguration 
of  thy  servant,  Abraham  Lincoln,  even  unto  this  day. 
But  Thou  hast  saved  us  in  the  past  by  Thy  almighty 
power  and  I  have  abiding  confidence  that  Thou  wilt  deal 
graciously  with  us  in  every  future  emergency. 

"Grant  that  the  proceedings  of  the  convention  may  be 
marked  by  a  wisdom,  discretion,  concord,  harmony  and 
mutual  forbearance  worthy  of  an  enlightened  and  patri- 
otic body  of  American  citizens." 

One  of  the  public  questions  on  which  Gibbons  took  a 
pronounced  stand  in  his  later  years  was  the  retention  of 
American  sovereignty  over  the  Philippines.  In  1913, 
soon  after  Mr.  Wilson's  first  term  as  President  began,  a 
bill  which  provided  for  Philippine  independence  was 


strongly  backed  in  Congress,  and,  for  a  time,  seemed 
likely  to  pass.  Gibbons  had  taken  no  public  part  in  the 
discussion  in  1898  as  to  whether  the  Philippines  should 
be  transferred  from  Spanish  to  American  sovereignty,  al- 
though, as  we  have  seen,  when  President  McKinley 
asked  for  his  advice  on  that  subject,  he  said  that  the 
transfer  would  be  a  good  thing  for  the  Catholic  Church, 
but  a  bad  one,  he  feared,  for  the  United  States.  We 
have  also  seen  how  it  was  chiefly  due  to  Gibbons  that  the 
vexing  question  of  the  Friar  lands  was  settled  and  the 
status  of  the  Catholic  Church  property  in  the  Philippines 
and  other  islands  acquired  by  the  United  States  from 
Spain  arranged  to  accord  with  American  methods. 

Once  the  islands  were  taken  over,  he  was  firmly  of  the 
opinion  that  they  should  be  held  until  their  people  were 
fitted  for  self-government,  and  he  was  disposed  to  require 
distinct  evidence  to  be  given  of  such  fitness  before 
American  supervision  was  withdrawn.  In  his  view, 
American  withdrawal  would  mean  abandoning  a  helpless 
people  to  a  capricious  and  ominous  future. 

On  November  3,  1912,  Gibbons  was  the  guest  of  Presi- 
dent Taft,  at  luncheon,  when  they  discussed  the  question 
of  the  Philippines.  Mr.  Taft  pointed  out  to  him  that 
while  all  the  Democratic  platforms  since  that  of  1900 
had  declared  for  the  independence  of  the  islands,  Mr. 
Wilson  had  not  mentioned  that  subject  in  his  speech  ac- 
cepting nomination.  The  President,  who  had  been  the 
first  civil  governor  of  the  islands,  and  in  whose  judgment 
regarding  them  Gibbons  reposed  profound  confidence, 
said  that  the  Philippines  were  far  from  ready  for  inde- 
pendence, and  that,  if  it  were  given  to  them,  an  oligarchy 


of  natives  would  control.  He  also  expressed  the  view 
that  in  certain  eventualities  a  foreign  power  might  seize 
the  islands. 

Gibbons  told  the  President  that  the  Catholic  Bishops 
in  the  Philippines  were  unanimously  of  the  opinion  that 
the  people  were  not  ready  for  independence.  He  con- 
curred in  this  view,  believing  that  a  considerable  period 
of  further  progress  under  the  American  flag  was  necessary 
before  the  question  of  full  independence  could  be  seri- 
ously considered. 

After  the  bill  had  been  introduced,  Gibbons  became 
the  foremost  influence  in  opposition  to  it.  He  took  the 
ground  that  while  a  small  proportion  of  the  people  of  the 
islands  were  educated  and  fitted  for  the  duties  of  citizen- 
ship at  that  time,  the  great  majority  were  still  in  a  rudi- 
mentary state  of  civilization,  and  many  were  almost  bar- 
barous. Early  independence,  he  held,  would  lead  to  re- 
peated revolutions  and  the  springing  up  of  ambitious  and 
unscrupulous  leaders,  and  eventually  to  anarchy.  The 
result  in  that  event,  he  was  inclined  to  believe,  would  be 
that  Japan  would  take  possession  of  the  islands. 

Speaking  to  members  of  the  Taft  Cabinet,  other  offi- 
cials of  the  Washington  government  and  representatives 
of  every  nation  of  Central  and  South  America,  assembled 
at  an  official  luncheon  in  Washington,  November  29, 
1912,  Gibbons  declared  that  in  the  Philippines  the 
United  States  had  a  responsibility  which  it  could  not 
escape.    He  remarked: 

"Happy  for  the  United  States,  and  thrice  happy  for 
the  Philippines  if  the  administration  of  affairs  in  the 


islands  in  the  future  shall  be  in  hands  as  capable  as  those 
of  President  Taft." 

The  editor  of  a  Boston  newspaper  ^  having  solicited 
from  him  a  full  expression  of  his  views  on  the  subject 
of  the  Philippines,  he  consented  to  give  the  interview, 
which  was  subsequently  republished  as  a  Congressional 
document  on  motion  of  Representative  Kendall  of  Iowa, 
who,  in  proposing  its  publication,  said :  * 

"Mr.  Speaker,  Cardinal  Gibbons  is  not  only  a  very 
distinguished  prelate,  but  he  is  a  very  eminent  statesman 
as  well.  He  has  had  occasion  to  devote  very  deep  and 
discriminating  study  to  the  subject  of  our  relations  to  the 
Philippines,  a  proposition  which  will  be  one  of  difficulty 
and  importance  in  Congress.  Some  time  ago  he  submitted 
to  an  interview  which  is  a  contribution  of  peculiar  value, 
in  my  opinion,  to  the  American  people.  I  ask  unanimous 
consent  to  extend  my  remarks  by  including  it  in  the 

In  that  statement  Gibbons  urged  that  the  Philippine 
problem  was  in  no  sense  a  partisan  one,  but  belonged  to 
the  whole  American  people.     He  said: 

"To  its  solution  the  best  thought  of  the  country  should 
be  devoted,  and  the  efforts  of  our  Government  in  that 
direction  deserve  the  loyal  support  of  all  Americans  with- 
out regard  to  creed,  religious  or  political.  The  orderly 
progress  and  development  of  the  Filipinos  and  their  edu- 
cation in  the  difficult  science  of  self-government  under 
the  wise  and  benevolent  policy  pursued  by  this  nation 
since  the  American  occupation  is  threatened  by  the  pro- 
posal to  commit  the  Government  to  abandon  those  islands 

*  The  Transcript. 

*  Congressional  Record. 


at  a  fixed  time  in  the  future — and  that  only  a  few  years 

"I  am  irrevocably  opposed  to  any  proposal  that  would 
commit  this  nation  to  a  scuttle  policy  in  the  Philippine 
Islands — to-day,  to-morrow,  or  at  any  fixed  time  in  the 
future — and  I  say  this  wholly  in  the  interest  of  the  social, 
material,  and  moral  advancement  of  the  people  of  the 
United  States,  of  whom  I  am  proud  to  be  a  fellow  citizen, 
no  less  than  of  the  Filipinos  themselves. 

"In  the  first  place,  I  maintain  that  the  Filipinos — the 
vast  majority  of  them,  at  any  rate — have  never  been  con- 
sulted regarding  their  independence.  The  islands  com- 
posing the  archipelago  number  more  than  3,000  and  are 
widely  scattered.  The  people  of  one  island  have  little  or 
no  relation  with  the  inhabitants  of  another.  No  attempt 
has  been  made  to  ascertain  the  views  of  these  segregated 
groups  upon  the  question,  so  vital  to  them,  as  to  whether 
they  shall  be  turned  adrift  to  shift  for  themselves.  There 
has  been  no  plebiscite,  and  it  would  require  days  and 
weeks  for  them  to  gather  and  register  their  opinions  on 
the  subject. 

"But  even  could  it  be  demonstrated  that  a  large  num- 
ber of  Filipinos  desired  independence,  in  my  judgment 
the  inhabitants  of  those  islands,  as  a  whole,  are  utterly 
unprepared  to  shoulder  the  responsibility  which  inde- 
pendence would  place  upon  them.  Some  authorities  give 
the  number  of  those  capable  of  reading  and  writing  as 
not  more  than  5  per  cent,  nor  have  more  than  3  per  cent 
an  adequate  idea  of  the  duties  required  of  those  charged 
with  self-government. 

"Objection  is  raised  against  our  continuing  to  rule  a 
people  8,000  miles  away.  In  answer  I  would  say  that 
when  we  acquired  California  in  1847  President  Polk  is 
said  to  have  remarked  that  a  territory  so  far  removed 
from  what  was  then  the  United  States  would  be  a  doubt- 
ful possession.     We  know  now  how  fallacious  was  his 


reasoning.  Although  the  Philippine  Islands  are  so  far 
removed  from  us  geographically,  it  is  easier  for  us  to-day 
to  reach  Manila  than  it  was  sixty  years  ago  to  go  from 
New  York  to  San  Francisco,  and,  in  fact,  it  might  be  said 
that  we  are  in  hourly  communication  with  the  islands  by 

"On  many  sides  of  us  to-day  we  see  republics  torn  with 
chronic  revolutions — Liberia,  Santo  Domingo,  Cuba,  and 
last,  but  by  no  means  least,  Mexico.  For  those  revolu- 
tions this  nation  is  not  responsible.  I  hold  that  it  would 
be  a  grave  mistake  to  add  another  to  that  group,  and  one 
for  which  as  a  nation  the  United  States  would  be  wholly 

Gibbons  was  greatly  relieved  when  he  learned  soon 
afterward  at  a  dinner  party  in  Washington  that  a  suffi- 
cient number  of  senators  was  opposed  to  the  bill  for  Phil- 
ippine independence  to  prevent  its  passage.  He  con- 
tinued to  receive  encouraging  reports  from  Catholic  prel- 
ates in  the  islands  of  the  progress  being  made  under 
American  control.  In  the  year  following  the  defeat  of 
the  bill  he  was  visited  by  Archbishop  Harty,  of  Manila, 
who  cheered  him  by  saying  that  400,000  children  were 
then  enrolled  in  the  new  insular  schools. 

The  period  of  prolonged  revolutions  in  Mexico,  which 
followed  the  end  of  the  Diaz  regime,  was  a  source  of 
great  distress  to  him  because  of  the  persecution  of  priests 
and  nuns  that  accompanied  it.  So  deeply  was  he  moved 
that  he  issued  two  letters,  one  addressed  to  the  priests, 
and  the  other  to  the  laity  of  the  archdiocese  of  Baltimore, 
asking  them  to  pray  daily  during  the  entire  month  of 
May,  1914,  for  peace  in  that  country.  He  went  to  New 
Orleans  for  a  conference  with  Archbishop  Mora  y  del 


Rio,  the  head  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  Mexico,  and  they 
considered  steps  for  the  care  of  the  priests  and  nuns  who 
were  fleeing  to  the  United  States  to  escape  the  worst  bru- 
talities, and  even  death,  at  the  hands  of  various  Mexican 
factions.  In  the  following  year  he  issued  an  appeal  to 
the  American  Bishops  in  behalf  of  the  refugees,  saying: 

"The  Archbishop  of  Mexico  has  made  known  to  me 
the  great  misery  in  which  multitudes  of  Sisters  and  of 
mothers  and  children  now  find  themselves  on  account  of 
the  revolution.  Their  condition  is  most  pitiable,  and  no 
promise  of  immediate  relief  is  found  in  Mexico  itself. 
He  implores  us  to  come  to  their  assistance.  I  communi- 
cated hurriedly  with  their  Eminences,  Cardinals  Farley 
and  O'Connell,  who  agree  with  me  that  an  appeal  should 
be  made  to  the  members  of  the  Hierarchy  on  behalf  of 
these  sufferers. 

"Were  the  condition  less  distressing  and  the  act  less 
exalted,  I  would  not  venture  to  take  the  step  without  first 
asking  your  advice  as  to  the  wisdom  of  it.  There  is,  how- 
ever, urgent  need  of  immediate  action.  I  ask  you,  there- 
fore, in  your  charity  and  kindness  of  heart  to  take  fitting 
steps  toward  raising  funds  for  this  purpose.  I  may  say 
that  a  number  of  representatives  of  American  public  opin- 
ion, both  in  official  and  private  life,  who  are  well  ac- 
quainted with  conditions  in  Mexico,  are  most  anxious  that 
this  be  done." 

He  was  in  frequent  correspondence  with  President 
Wilson  and  the  State  Department  regarding  the  situa- 
tion. While  opposed  to  armed  intervention,  he  felt  that 
the  influence  of  America  should  be  continuously  exerted 
to  allay  the  atrocities  in  Mexico  which  accompanied  the 
revolution.  He  pronounced  Carranza  and  Villa  "a  dis- 
grace to  their  country." 


On  November  19,  1914,  he  sent  a  letter  to  Archbishop 
Mora,  in  the  name  of  the  entire  Hierarchy  of  the  United 
States,  deploring  the  hostility  to  the  Catholic  Church  by 
the  revolutionists  and  the  persecution  of  priests  and  nuns, 
saying : 

"In  the  United  States,  constitutional  provisions  safe- 
guard both  the  stability  of  government  and  the  liberties 
of  the  individual,  not  by  hampering  religion,  but  by  al- 
lowing it  the  fullest  freedom,  or  rather  by  protecting  it  in 
the  enjoyment  of  that  freedom  which  it  has  by  right. 

"The  American  people  .  .  .  will  not,  I  am  sure,  de- 
liberately assent  to  the  establishment  on  their  borders  of 
a  system  of  misrule,  based  on  the  worst  of  tyrannies — 
the  tyranny  of  the  State  over  soul  and  conscience." 

A  little  more  than  a  month  after  this  appeal  was  sent 
out,  he  received  a  letter  from  the  Archbishop  of  Oaxaca 
saying  that  Carranza  had  forbidden  confessions  and  col- 
lections in  the  churches. 

He  continued  to  hope  steadily  that  the  right  man  or 
men  would  come  to  the  front  in  Mexico  and  restore  the 
country  to  the  peace  and  prosperity  which  it  formerly 
enjoyed.  It  was  one  of  the  solaces  of  the  closing  days 
of  his  life  that  conditions  in  that  country  had  become 
greatly  improved. 

Continuing  his  efforts  in  behalf  of  international  peace. 
Gibbons  gave  support  to  every  arbitration  treaty  which 
was  negotiated  by  the  Washington  government.  In  an 
address  at  the  Third  National  Peace  Congress  held  in 
Baltimore  in  May,  1911,  he  made  an  earnest  plea  for  a 
treaty  of  that  kind  between  the  United  States  and  Great 
Britain  as  a  forerunner  of  similar  conventions  binding  all 


nations.  The  president  of  the  Congress,  in  introducing 
him,  characterized  him  as  one  of  the  most  potent  forces 
in  the  world  for  the  abolition  of  war,  and  recalled  the 
appeal  issued  by  Cardinals  Gibbons,  Logue  and  Vaughan 
at  Easter,  1896,  as  one  of  the  chief  contributory  causes 
of  the  Hague  Conference  of  1899. 

Gibbons  lent  the  full  weight  of  his  influence  to  the 
overthrow  of  the  Louisiana  lottery,  a  gigantic  scheme  of 
licensed  gambling  which  had  long  been  an  offense  to  the 
nation.  Its  power,  derived  from  the  laws  of  the  State  in 
which  it  was  conducted,  was  fortified  by  organized  cor- 
ruption and  for  a  time  seemed  impregnable.  Able  and 
devoted  men  undertook  to  crush  it,  but  for  years  their 
efforts  were  futile.  It  appeased  hostile  opinion  by  giving 
large  donations  to  charities,  and  obtained  the  services  of 
Generals  Beauregard  and  Early  to  supervise  its  drawings. 

By  a  letter  addressed  January  11,  1892,  to  General 
George  D.  Johnston,  of  the  Anti-Lottery  Committee 
which  was  opposing  a  renewal  of  the  charter  by  the  State 
of  Louisiana,  Gibbons  helped  to  turn  the  tide.  He  took 
the  ground  that  the  question  of  permitting  the  lottery  to 
continue  was  preeminently  one  of  morality  and  virtue. 
The  practical  working  of  the  lottery,  he  showed,  tended 
to  enrich  the  few  at  the  expense  and  misery  of  the  many; 
to  tempt  the  poor  to  squander  their  earnings  "in  the  vain, 
delusive  Tantalus-like  hope  of  one  day  becoming  the  pos- 
sessor of  a  winning  number."  This  fever  impelled  many 
to  thefts  and  other  forms  of  dishonesty.  He  pronounced 
the  lottery  to  be  an  enemy  to  the  honor  and  peace  of  any 
community,  to  the  happiness  of  the  home,  to  individual 
thrift  and  enterprise,  and  vigorously  called  upon  every 


public-spirited  and  earnest  Christian  to  aid  in  its  sup- 
pression.    The  Cardinal  wrote: 

"Christian  charity  and  natural  philanthropy  alike  dic- 
tate that  we  remove  from  the  unwary  pitfalls  of  destruc- 
tion and  withdraw  the  innocent  and  weak  from  tempta- 
tion. Those  bent  on  suicide  should  be  restrained.  The 
burning  fagot  should  be  snatched  from  the  child's  hand. 
That  the  Louisiana  lottery,  as  it  is  presented  to  us,  proves 
a  snare  and  a  delusion  to  thousands,  and  is  destructive 
to  the  peace  of  mind  and  energy  of  action  so  necessary  to 
pursue  honorable  careers  and  properly  to  acquit  one's 
self  of  life's  duties,  we  can  not  doubt.  The  daily  opera- 
tions of  the  scheme  make  the  point  clear.  Worthy,  then, 
of  praise  and  commendation  are  they  who  strive  to 
quicken  the  public  conscience  and  to  array  public  senti- 
ment against  the  continuance  of  the  evil,  who  speak  and 
labor  in  behalf  of  their  fellow-men  by  seeking  to  remove 
from  their  midst  a  dire  enemy  of  their  manhood,  their 
homes  and  their  prosperity. 

"Were  the  evil  confined  only  to  the  State  of  Louisiana, 
I  should  refrain  from  giving  expression  to  my  sentiments; 
but  since,  like  a  giant  tree,  it  has  extended  its  branches 
over  the  entire  land,  embracing  in  the  area  of  its  opera- 
tions Maryland  and  the  District  of  Columbia,  with  which 
I  am  connected,  I  could  not  but  raise  my  voice  in  pro- 
test, and  in  particular  that  our  faithful  people  may  help 
forward  the  good  work  of  putting  an  end  to  its  ravages." 

The  words  of  Gibbons  were  influential  not  only  in  the 
country  at  large,  but  directly  in  Louisiana,  the  home  of 
his  youth  and  where  his  family  resided.  He  was  vener- 
ated there  as  much  as  in  Baltimore;  and  an  aroused  pub- 
lic opinion  was  sufficient  to  crush  the  lottery  out  of  ex- 


Throughout  the  nation  there  was  a  chorus  of  satisfac- 
tion that  a  contest  so  long  and  unceasingly  waged  had 
become  victorious.  The  Rev.  Dr.  Lyman  Abbott,  preach- 
ing in  Plymouth  Church,  Brooklyn,  in  the  following 
month,  expressed  the  view  of  Protestant  crusaders  who, 
like  himself,  had  long  been  grappling  with  the  monster. 
He  exclaimed: 

"I  can  not  understand  the  folly  of  men  who  would  blot 
out  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  from  this  country.  Thank 
God  for  Cardinal  Gibbons  I  Long  may  he  wear  his  red 
cloak  and  his  red  cap ;  and  if  there  should  be  an  election 
now,  and  you  and  I  could  vote,  I  would  vote  to  make  him 
Pope  I  His  word,  flung  out  with  courage  and  with  strong 
significance,  has  done  more  than  any  other  word  in  this 
country,  by  press,  by  politician,  or  by  preacher,  to  make 
the  leaders  of  that  Louisiana  abomination  call  a  halt,  and, 
at  least,  pretend  a  retreat.  God  give  us  courage  to  turn 
it  into  a  rout." 

When  the  lottery  took  refuge  in  Honduras  and  illicitly 
carried  on  its  operations  in  the  United  States,  though  in 
a  much  modified  form,  the  Cardinal  wrote  another  letter 
severely  condemning  it  and  expressing  the  hope  that  pub- 
lic opinion  would  stamp  it  out  everywhere. 


The  quality  of  Gibbons'  moral  courage  was  perhaps 
shown  by  nothing  more  strikingly  than  by  his  attitude  on 
temperance  and  prohibition  as  to  the  use  of  liquor.  Any 
consideration  of  his  record  on  that  question  must  begin 
with  the  fact  that  he  was  one  of  the  most  powerful  in- 
dividual forces  for  temperance.  Over  a  very  long  period 
of  years  he  made  it  a  practise  whenever  he  confirmed  a 
class  to  request  the  boys  to  pledge  abstinence  from  intoxi- 
cating liquors  until  they  reached  the  age  of  twenty-one 
years.  The  aggregate  of  those  who  gave  these  pledges 
was  many  thousands.  It  was  Gibbons'  belief,  based  upon 
observation,  that  habits  of  intemperance  were  usually 
contracted  in  youth,  when  there  were  exceptional  tempta- 
tions, and  that  if  this  period  could  be  passed  safely  there 
was  less  danger  of  drinking  to  excess. 

Total  prohibition  of  the  sale  of  liquor  by  law  in  the 
nation  or  a  State  he  regarded  as  impracticable  and  dan- 
gerous, but  he  was  in  favor  of  local  option  on  the  ques- 
tion. He  declared  publicly  "that  it  is  impossible  to  leg- 
islate men  into  morality."  When  the  question  of  ratify- 
ing the  prohibition  amendment  to  the  national  Constitu- 
tion hung  in  the  balance,  he  expressed  the  hope  that  the 
members  of  State  legislatures  who  were  still  to  vote  upon 

the  question  would  not  bow  to  "the  fanaticism  that  seems 



to  be  governing  us  in  this  respect."  Some  of  the  law- 
makers seemed  to  him  to  be  acting  through  cowardice, 
dreading  the  pressure  exercised  by  propagandists  for  pro- 
hibition. Ratification  of  the  amendment,  he  predicted, 
would  be  followed  by  the  springing  up  of  illicit  stills  in 
all  parts  of  the  country,  and  dangerous  beverages  made 
surreptitiously  would  be  used  in  the  place  of  beer  and 
light  wines.    He  added: 

"Those  favoring  the  amendment  will  not  be  satisfied 
with  this  victory,  and  they  will  try  to  impose  other  ob- 
noxious laws  upon  us  that  will  make  our  personal  liberty 
worth  very  little." 

He  expressed  repeatedly  the  conviction  that  prohibi- 
tion could  never  be  enforced,  and  that  if  enforcement 
should  be  attempted,  it  would  make  hypocrites  and  vio- 
lators of  the  laws. 

Declaring  his  opposition  in  1916  to  a  State  prohibition 
bill,  then  under  consideration  by  the  legislature  of  Mary- 
land, he  said  to  a  delegation  which  called  upon  him : 

"I  believe  that  such  a  law  is  impossible  of  enforcement 
in  a  city  of  the  size  of  Baltimore.  A  law  of  this  kind 
interferes  with  personal  liberty  and  rights,  and  creates 
hypocrisy  in  the  people.  The  history  of  the  world  down 
to  the  present  time  demonstrates  the  fact  that  people 
always  have  indulged  and  always  will  indulge  in  the  use 
of  intoxicating  liquors. 

"It  is  true  that  the  use  of  wines  and  liquors  is  often 
abused,  as  I  know  from  a  long  observation  in  the  minis- 
try, yet  the  best  of  things  are  liable  to  abuse.  What  is 
more  harmless,  for  instance,  than  the  organ  of  the  tongue'? 
We  all  know  the  social  and  domestic  joy  and  utility  de- 
rived from  conversation,  and  yet  the  bad  use  of  the  tongue 


daily  leads  to  lying  and  misrepresentation,  to  quarrels 
and  slander,  to  bloodshed,  and  often  even  to  murder. 

"It  is  a  favorite  practise  of  some  friends  of  prohibition 
to  charge  their  opponents  with  being  subsidized  by  the 
liquor  interests ;  that  is  a  most  grievous  charge,  and  often 
unfounded.  But  would  we  be  justified  in  putting  a  pad- 
lock on  our  mouths  because  of  the  occasional  misuse  of 
the  tongue?  We  should  regulate  the  use  of  intoxicants 
as  we  regulate  the  use  of  our  tongues,  by  proper  safe- 
guards and  restraints. 

"What  I  would  recommend  for  Baltimore  is  high  li- 
cense, and  laws  connected  with  it  rigidly  enforcing  the 
regulations  for  the  conduct  of  saloons." 

He  lent  his  direct  support  to  abolishing  the  saloons  by 
means  of  local  option  in  Charles  County,  Maryland, 
where  the  Catholic  population  was  large.  A  statement 
which  he  issued  while  the  question  was  being  agitated 
there  resulted  in  a  large  majority  in  the  county  against 
the  continued  sale  of  liquor.    The  statement  was : 

"I  believe  that  the  right  of  the  people  to  determine  by 
the  operation  of  a  local  option  law  whether  saloons  shall 
or  shall  not  be  closed  within  their  respective  communities 
is  in  harmony  with  the  American  principle  of  self  gov- 
ernment and  I  congratulate  the  people  of  Charles  county 
in  that  they  will  have  the  right  to  settle  this  question  by 
ballot  on  May  16  next.  Realizing  the  damage  which  has 
been  done  by  the  liquor  traffic  in  this  county,  I  sincerely 
trust  that  at  the  coming  election  they  will  banish  forever 
the  licensed  saloon,  as  I  believe  that  it  will  be  to  the  best 
interests  of  their  people." 

Gibbons  supported  steps  which  were  taken  for  instruct- 
ing children  in  the  schools  regarding  the  effects  of  alcohol 
on  bodily  health  and  he  encouraged  the  offering  of  prizes 


for  essays  on  that  subject  written  by  pupils  in  Baltimore. 
He  resisted  all  temptations — and  they  were  great — 
to  make  uncharitable  rejoinders  to  the  attacks  which  were 
launched  against  him  by  some  of  the  extreme  advocates 
of  prohibition.  One  of  these  attacks  was  in  the  form 
of  an  insinuation  that  he  opposed  the  national  prohibi- 
tion amendment  because  the  Maryland  distilleries  were 
"controlled  or  owned  by  Catholics."  This  was  far  from 
the  mark,  for  an  inquiry  which  was  instituted  showed 
that  only  five  of  the  twenty  distilleries  in  the  State  were 
so  controlled  or  owned.  In  a  letter  to  a  friend,  in  the 
course  of  which  he  mentioned  the  refutation  of  this 
charge,  he  wrote  simply: 

"We  must  make  ourselves  heard  touching  our  personal 
liberty."  ^ 

On  the  question  of  woman  suffrage,  as  in  regard  to 
prohibition,  he  held  to  his  own  position  despite  pro- 
longed and  determined  pressure  to  induce  him  to  change 
it.  He  was  opposed  to  general  suffrage  for  women,  but 
in  favor  of  conferring  municipal  suffrage  upon  women 
who  owned  property.  He  based  his  stand  upon  the  view 
that  activity  by  women  in  politics  would  involve  the  risk 
of  injury  to  their  influence  in  the  home.  Speaking  to 
members  of  the  Catholic  Women's  Benevolent  Legion  ^ 
he  said: 

"You  are  the  queens  of  the  domestic  kingdom.  Do  not 
stain  your  garments  with  the  soil  of  the  political  arena. 
No  man  or  woman  can  rule  well  over  two  kingdoms,  and 
one  should  be  enough  for  you.    You  rule  the  home,  the 

*  Letter  of  January  29,  1919. 
*May  20,  1920. 


husband  and  the  children,  and  should  not  attempt  to 
dabble  in  politics.  .  .  .  Each  of  you  has  a  special  mis- 
sion from  God,  and  each  must  perform  it  individually. 
.  .  .  Women  are  greater  than  men,  more  than  priests, 
more  than  Bishops,  in  the  power  to  develop  the  highest 
ideals  as  mothers,  daughters  and  sisters." 

He  uniformly  insisted  that  the  Christian  home  was  the 
cornerstone  of  the  nation,  and  in  numerous  addresses  ex- 
alted the  Christian  mother.  In  a  sermon  at  the  Baltimore 
Cathedral  February  4,  1900,  he  said: 

"I  regard  'woman's  rights'  women  as  the  worst  enemies 
of  the  female  sex.  They  rob  woman  of  all  that  is  amiable 
and  gentle,  tender  and  attractive;  they  rob  her  of  her 
innate  grace  of  character,  and  give  her  nothing  in  return 
but  masculine  boldness  and  brazen  effrontery.  They  are 
habitually  preaching  about  woman's  rights  and  preroga^ 
tives,  and  have  not  a  word  to  say  about  her  duties  and 
responsibilities.  They  withdraw  her  from  those  obliga- 
tions which  properly  belong  to  her  sex  and  fill  her  with 
ambition  to  usurp  positions  for  which  neither  God  nor 
nature  ever  intended  her. 

"Under  the  influence  of  such  teachers,  we  find  woman, 
especially  in  higher  circles,  neglecting  her  household 
duties,  never  at  peace  unless  she  is  in  perpetual  motion 
or  unless  she  is  in  a  state  of  morbid  excitement.  She 
never  feels  at  home  unless  she  is  abroad.  When  she  is  at 
home,  the  home  is  irksome  to  her.  She  chafes  and  frets 
under  the  restraints  and  responsibilities  of  domestic  life. 
Her  heart  is  abroad;  it  is  exulting  in  imagination  in  some 
social  triumph  or  reveling  in  some  scene  of  gayety  and 

"Her  afflicted  husband  comes  home  to  find  it  empty 
or  occupied  by  a  woman  whose  heart  is  empty  of  affection 
for  him.    She  is  ill  at  ease.    Hence  arise  disputes,  quar- 


rels,  recriminations,  estrangements,  or  the  last  act  of  the 
drama  is  often  divorce  I  I  speak  with  sober  truth  when  I 
affirm  that  for  the  wrecks  of  families  in  our  country 
woman  has  a  large  share  of  the  responsibility. 

"Where  will  woman  find  the  charter  of  her  rights  and 
dignity?  In  the  Gospel.  The  Catholic  Church,  follow- 
ing the  teachings  of  the  Gospel  and  the  Epistles  of  St. 
Paul,  proclaims  woman  as  the  peer  of  man. 

"Christian  women,  when  your  husbands  and  sons  re- 
turn to  you  in  the  evening  after  buffeting  with  the  waves 
of  the  world,  let  them  find  in  your  homes  a  haven  of  rest. 
Do  not  pour  into  the  bleeding  wounds  of  the  heart  the 
gall  of  bitter  words,  but  rather  the  oil  of  gladness  and 

Delegations  of  woman  suifragists  made  numerous  ef- 
forts to  win  him  over  to  their  side,  but  without  avail.  A 
number  of  them  who  engaged  in  a  march  from  New 
York  to  Washington  in  February,  1913,  as  a  means  of 
attracting  attention  to  their  cause,  contrived  to  obtain 
an  audience  with  him  by  appearing  at  his  residence  in  one 
of  his  daily  periods  for  public  reception  and  entering 
without  formality.  Gibbons  received  them  as  he  received 
other  callers,  with  winning  cordiality,  and  they  could 
pluck  up  courage  to  do  nothing  more  spectacular  in  the 
course  of  their  visit  than  to  present  an  equal  suffrage 
flag  to  him. 

He  feared  that  if  the  mass  of  women  participated 
actively  in  politics  there  would  be  an  aggravation  of  what 
he  considered  to  be  one  of  the  greatest  evils  in  America — 
divorce.  In  sermons  and  public  addresses  he  frequently 
warned  of  the  increasing  number  of  divorces,  with  the 
tendency  to  undermine   family  life.     Writing  in   the 


Delineator^  a  journal  for  women,  in  July,  1907,  he  ex- 
pressed himself  thus: 

"The  reckless  facility  with  which  divorce  is  procured  in 
this  country  is  an  evil  scarcely  less  deplorable  than  Mor- 
monism.  Indeed,  it  is  in  some  respects  more  dangerousj 
for  divorce  has  the  sanction  of  the  civil  law,  which  Mor- 
monism  has  not.  Is  not  the  law  of  divorce  a  virtual  tol- 
eration of  Mormonism  in  a  modified  form?  Mormonism 
consists  in  a  simultaneous  polygamy,  while  the  law  of 
divorce  practically  leads  to  successive  polygamy.  .  .  . 
It  is  plainly  manifest  that  the  cancer  of  divorce  is  rapidly 
spreading  over  the  community  and  poisoning  the  foun- 
tains of  the  nation.  Unless  the  evil  is  checked  by  some 
speedy  and  heroic  remedy,  the  existence  of  family  life  is 

In  a  letter  addressed  to  the  "Congress  of  Mothers"  in 
Washington,  May  1,  1911,  the  Cardinal  expressed  his 
general  views  of  the  duties  of  women  in  the  world.  He 
wrote : 

"The  home  is  the  primeval  school.  It  is  the  best,  the 
most  hallowed  and  the  most  potential  of  all  academies, 
and  the  parent,  especially  the  mother,  is  the  first,  the 
most  influential  and  the  most  cherished  of  all  teachers. 

"For  various  reasons  mothers  should  be  the  first  instruc- 
tors of  their  children. 

''First — As  nature  ordains  that  mothers  should  be  th€ 
first  to  feed  their  offspring  with  corporal  nourishment  of 
their  own  substance,  so  the  God  of  nature  ordains  that 
mothers  should  be  the  first  to  impart  to  their  little  ones 
'the  rational,  guileless  milk  of  heavenly  knowledge, 
whereby  they  may  grow  into  salvation'  (i  Peter  11.  i). 

''Second — The  children  that  are  fed  by  their  own 
mothers  are  usually  more  healthy  and  robust  than  those 


that  are  nourished  by  wet  nurses.  In  like  manner,  the 
children  that  are  instructed  by  their  own  mothers  in  the 
elements  of  Christian  knowledge  are  commonly  more 
sturdy  in  faith  and  are  more  responsive  to  the  call  of 
moral  duty  than  those  who  are  committed  for  instruc- 
tion to  strangers. 

''Third — The  progress  of  a  pupil  in  knowledge  is  in  a 
great  measure  proportioned  to  the  confidence  he  has  in 
his  preceptor.  Now,  in  whom  does  a  child  place  so  much 
belief  as  in  his  mother*?  She  is  his  oracle  and  prophet. 
She  is  his  guide,  philosopher  and  friend.  He  never 
doubts  what  his  mother  tells  him.  The  lesson  he  receives 
acquires  additional  force  because  it  proceeds  from  one  to 
whom  he  has  given  his  first  love,  and  whose  image  in  after 
life  is  indelibly  stamped  on  his  heart  or  memory. 
Mothers,  do  not  lose  the  golden  opportunity  you  have  of 
training  your  children  in  point  of  morals  while  their 
hearts  are  open  to  drink  in  your  every  word. 

''Fourth — You  share  the  same  home  with  your  children. 
You  frequently  occupy  the  same  apartment.  You  eat 
at  the  same  table  with  them.  They  are  habitually  before 
your  eyes.  You  are,  therefore,  the  best  fitted  to  instruct 
them  and  you  can  avail  yourself  of  every  little  incident 
that  presents  itself  and  draw  from  it  some  appropriate 
moral  reflection." 

He  denounced  the  laxity  of  the  laws  in  some  of  the 
western  States  which  permitted  "divorce  colonies"  to 
spring  up  there,  saying: 

"The  ease  with  which  divorces  may  be  obtained  in  some 
of  our  States  is  nothing  less  than  criminal.  One  of  the 
favorite  grounds  in  these  days  is  what  is  called  'incom- 
patibility of  temper.'  A  wife  may  burn  a  pan  of  biscuits. 
The  husband  chides  her.  Miserable  little  biting  words 
fly  from  their  tongues.    There  is  never  a  thought  of  for- 


bearance  on  the  part  of  either.  There  is  never  a  thought 
of  the  children.  Only  the  selfish  pride  of  the  parents  is 
considered,  and  presently  there  is  an  action  brought  for 
divorce.  Incompatibility  of  temper!  Bah!,  I  say  to  the 
laws  which  permit  such  things.  They  affront  God  and 
every  one  who  fears  Him." 

His  sympathy  went  out  warmly  to  the  children  of 
divorcees.    In  a  sermon  he  said : 

"I  can  conceive  no  scene  more  pathetic,  nor  one  that 
appeals  more  touchingly  to  our  sympathies  than  the  con- 
templation of  a  child  emerging  into  the  years  of  discre- 
tion  seeing  her  father  and  mother  estranged  from  each 
other.  Her  little  heart  is  yearning  to  love.  She  longs  to 
embrace  both  her  parents;  but  she  finds  that  she  cannot 
give  her  affection  to  the  one  without  exciting  the  resent- 
ment or  displeasure  of  the  other."  ^ 

Gibbons'  voice  was  raised  earnestly  against  "race  sui- 
cide," to  which  attention  was  vigorously  called  by  Mr. 
Roosevelt  while  serving  as  President.  The  Cardinal  con- 
sidered this  to  be  a  certain  sign  of  national  decay  unless 
it  were  arrested.  In  a  letter  to  the  Baltimore  Sun^  Oc- 
tober 18,  1907,  he  wrote: 

"Marriage,  according  to  the  Christian  dispensation,  is 
not  intended  for  self-indulgence,  but  for  the  rearing  of 
children  in  the  knowledge  and  fear  of  God,  who  will 
fulfill  their  every  obligation  as  individuals  and  as  mem- 
bers of  the  social  body,  and  prepare  themselves  for  the 
eternal  society  of  their  Divine  Master  and  His  faithful 
servants.  Its  duties,  properly  fulfilled,  develop  in  the 
highest  degree  self-denying,  unfailing,  courageous  devot- 
edness  in  the  individual ;  and,  consequently,  in  the  f am- 

*  Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  523-524. 


ily,  the  strong  and  tender  bonds  that  hold  its  members  in 
undying  fidelity  and  love.  .  .  . 

"It  is  a  great  mistake  to  suppose  that  the  two  or  three 
children  of  the  small  family,  who  receive  all  the  advan- 
tages and  all  the  indulgences  that  their  parents  can  be- 
stow, are  going  to  become  the  best  men  and  women. 
There  is  a  discipline  and  a  training  in  the  large  family, 
where  the  feelings  and  rights  of  others  have  constantly 
to  be  reckoned  with,  which  is  much  more  effective  in  pre- 
paring the  right  sort  of  men  and  women  to  meet  the  con- 
ditions of  real  life.  Those  thus  reared  will  not  so  easily 
be  found  among  the  hordes  of  lazy,  self-centered  do- 
nothings,  who  are  of  no  good  to  church,  or  to  society,  or  to 

"The  race  has  not  improved,  but  has  suffered  disaster 
in  both  nations  and  communities,  where  the  procreation 
of  children  has  not  been  looked  upon  as  a  matter  far  too 
sacred  and  momentous  to  be  left  to  the  control  of  in- 
dividual appreciation  of  its  manifold  and  perplexing 
problems.  The  accidentally  occurring  case  of  excep- 
tional hardship  for  the  mother,  where  physical  health  is 
gravely  compromised,  has  been  made  far  too  much  of. 
All  important  general  laws  bear  hard  at  times  upon  the 

After  the  woman  suffrage  amendment  was  adopted. 
Gibbons  called  it  a  "plunge  into  the  deep,"  but  he  pub- 
licly recommended  that  all  women,  in  compliance  with  its 
spirit,  should  register  and  vote.  He  went  so  far  as  to  urge 
Sisters  of  the  orders  in  the  Church  to  vote,  saying  that  it 
was  a  duty  which  belonged  to  them  in  common  with  all 
other  members  of  their  sex. 


Gibbons  contributed  to  the  cordiality  of  relations  be- 
tween the  United  States  and  the  States  of  Latin  America 
by  instituting  in  Washington  an  annual  Pan-American 
Thanksgiving  celebration  in  the  form  of  a  Mass,  which 
was  usually  attended  by  a  number  of  members  of  the 
Cabinet  and  almost  the  entire  diplomatic  corps  from  the 
republics  of  the  Western  hemisphere.  Presidents  were 
accustomed  to  be  present  at  this  Mass  at  least  once  and 
sometimes  oftener  in  the  course  of  their  terms  of  office. 
The  service  was  held  at  St.  Patrick's  Church,  and  after  it 
there  was  a  luncheon  in  the  rectory,  at  which  speeches 
were  made  tending  to  conserve  the  concord  among  the 
countries  represented. 

On  these  occasions,  Gibbons  usually  spoke,  edifying 
his  hearers  with  discourses  which  brought  home  to  them 
the  responsibility  which  the  diplomatic  representatives  of 
States  bore  in  promoting  international  friendship  and  the 
adjustment  of  disputes  by  peaceful  means.  In  his  ad- 
dress at  the  luncheon  following  the  Thanksgiving  Mass 
in  1913,  he  emphasized  the  fact  that  the  annual  celebra- 
tion was  not  a  form  of  participation  by  the  Church  in 
affairs  of  state.    He  said : 

"Critics  have  taken  exception  to  this  celebration  on 
account  of  its  quasi-official  nature,  expressing  the  belief 



that  we  aim  at  union  of  Church  and  State.  An  old 
Scotchman  said  to  another:  'Sandy,  Sandy,  honesty  is 
the  best  policy.  I  know,  because  I've  tried  both.'  The 
Church  has  tried  both  union  of  Church  and  State  and  the 
independent  cooperation  of  Church  and  State,  and  she 
knows  the  results  of  both." 

The  last  President  of  the  United  States  with  whom  he 
came  in  contact  while  in  office  was  Wilson.  When  Hard- 
ing was  inaugurated  he  was  near  the  last  stages  of  his 
fatal  illness,  but  he  planned  a  visit  to  the  new  President 
at  the  White  House  as  one  of  the  first  things  which  he 
would  undertake  in  the  event  of  his  recovery.  He  had 
become  acquainted  with  Harding  while  the  latter  was 
a  United  States  Senator  from  Ohio,  but  Wilson  had  been 
in  public  life  for  only  a  comparatively  short  period  previ- 
ous to  1912  and  Gibbons  had  not  known  him  personally. 

On  October  17  of  that  year,  when  it  appeared  that 
Wilson's  election  to  the  Presidency  was  certain,  the  Car- 
dinal took  occasion  to  compliment  Mrs.  Wilson  by  a 
personal  call  upon  her  while  she  was  on  a  visit  to  Balti- 
more. She  was  the  guest  of  Mrs.  William  M.  Ellicott,  a 
non-Catholic  who  was  active  in  social-service  work,  in 
some  of  whose  charitable  undertakings  the  Cardinal  had 
cooperated  actively.  Mrs.  Ellicott  invited  him  to  meet 
Mrs.  Wilson,  and  he  accepted  the  invitation  with  pleas- 
ure, engaging  in  a  cordial  conversation  with  the  wife  of 
the  future  President. 

His  first  visit  to  Wilson  was  on  April  8,  1913,  a  little 
more  than  a  month  after  the  inauguration.  The  President 
had  just  returned  to  the  White  House  after  delivering 
in  person  his  first  message  to  Congress.    When  salutations 

W  CI 




had  been  exchanged,  Gibbons  remarked  that  he  had  never 
seen  Wilson  before.  The  President  quickly  replied:  'T 
have  seen  you,"  explaining  that  he  referred  to  the  time 
when  he  had  been  a  student  at  the  Johns  Hopkins  Uni- 
versity and  had  observed  with  something  of  a  sense  of 
distant  awe  the  figure  of  the  Archbishop  in  the  latter's 
daily  walks  about  the  streets  of  Baltimore. 

On  the  occasion  of  this  visit,  Gibbons  entered  into  no 
intimate  discussion  of  public  affairs  with  Wilson,  intend- 
ing merely  to  convey  his  respects,  for  he  wished  all  of  the 
Presidents  to  have  personal  evidence  of  the  loyalty  to 
the  constituted  authorities  of  his  country  which  lay  so 
close  to  his  heart.  What  that  loyalty  meant,  Wilson 
had  abundant  and  intimate  reason  to  know  later  v^hen, 
during  the  ordeal  of  the  World  War,  Gibbons  was  one 
of  the  strongest  influences  in  bringing  out  the  full  na- 
tional support  of  the  administration  which  was  essential 
to  success. 

Among  Gibbons'  numerous  friends  in  public  life  was 
Admiral  Dewey,  the  victor  of  Manila.  When  President 
McKinley  presented  to  Dewey,  October  3,  1899,  a  sword 
which  had  been  voted  to  him  by  Congress,  the  Cardinal 
pronounced  the  benediction  at  the  close  of  the  ceremony. 

One  of  the  most  thorough  of  the  many  replies  which 
the  Cardinal  made  to  the  charge  brought  by  some  against 
Catholics  that  their  religious  faith  was  incompatible  with 
loyalty  to  American  institutions  was  in  an  article  con- 
tributed by  him  to  the  North  American  Review.  In  this 
he  said  that  Catholics  in  the  United  States  had  "undis- 
turbed belief  in  the  perfect  harmony  existing  between 
their  religion  and  their  duties  as  American  citzens.     It 


never  occurs  to  their  minds  to  question  the  truth  of  a 
belief  which  all  their  experience  confirms.  Love  of  re-* 
ligion  and  love  of  country  are  bound  together  in  their 

He  stated  with  complete  frankness  in  the  article  even 
the  most  odious  of  the  charges  brought  against  Catholic 
loyalty  and  replied  to  them.  As  to  the  Pope  and  political 
affairs  in  the  United  States,  he  wrote: 

"But  an  objection  is  repeatedly  cast  up  to  Catholics 
which,  repugnant  though  it  is  to  my  inmost  feelings  of 
loyalty  and  reverence  towards  the  Holy  Father,  I  must 
take  into  consideration;  for  utterly  impracticable  and  ab- 
surd as  it  is  in  our  eyes,  it  seems  to  haunt  the  minds  of 
many  outside  the  Church.  Suppose,  it  is  said,  the  Pope 
were  to  issue  commands  in  purely  civil  matters,  should 
not  Catholics  be  bound  to  yield  him  obedience'? 

"The  Pope  will  take  no  such  act,  we  know,  even  though 
it  is  a  part  of  Catholic  faith  that  he  is  infallible  in  the 
exercise  of  his  authority;  but  were  he  to  do  so  he  would 
stand  self-condemned,  a  transgressor  of  the  law  he  him- 
self promulgates.  He  would  be  offending  not  only 
against  civil  society,  but  against  God,  and  violating  an 
authority  as  truly  from  God  as  His  own.  Any  Catholic 
who  clearly  recognized  this,  would  not  be  bound  to  obey 
the  Pope;  or  rather  his  conscience  would  bind  him  abso- 
lutely to  disobey,  because  with  Catholics  conscience  is  the 
supreme  law  which  under  no  circumstances  can  we  ever 
lawfully  disobey. 

"Some  controversialists  in  this  country,  gravelled  for 
matter  of  complaint  against  the  Papal  dealings  with 
America,  have  invented  the  fable  that  Pius  IX  recognized 
the  Southern  Confederacy.  Of  course  the  facts  refute 
them,  as  the  Pope  merely  extended  to  Mr.  Jefferson  Davis 
the  courtesy  which  one  gentleman  owes  another  of  ad- 


dressing  him  by  his  official  title.  They  cling  to  the  serv- 
iceable fable;  and  proceed  to  shudder  at  the  thought  of 
what  might  have  happened  if,  in  the  crisis  of  our  Civil 
War,  the  President  had  been  a  Catholic. 

"Let  me  relieve  them  by  stating  what  would  have  oc- 
curred. A  Catholic  President  would  act,  under  the  cir- 
cumstances, precisely  as  Abraham  Lincoln;  he  would 
treat  the  recognition  with  a  respectful  silence,  and  con- 
tinue to  prosecute  the  war  to  the  best  of  his  ability.  If 
he  acted  otherwise  he  would  be  a  traitor  to  his  conscience 
and  his  God,  to  his  country  and  to  the  Constitution  which 
he  had  sworn  to  uphold.  And  he  would  have  Catholic 
theological  teaching  at  his  back." 

At  the  dedication  of  the  Louisiana  Purchase  Exposition 
at  St.  Louis,  April  30,  1903,  Gibbons  delivered  the  invo- 
cation, imploring  the  Divine  Power  that  "this  vast  terri- 
tory which  was  peacefully  acquired  a  hundred  years  ago 
may  be,  for  all  time  to  come,  the  tranquil  and  happy 
abode  of  millions  of  enlightened.  God-fearing  and 
industrious  people,  engaged  in  the  various  pursuits 
and  avocations  of  life.  As  this  new  domain  was  added 
to  our  possessions  without  sanguinary  strife,  so  may  its 
soil  never  be  stained  by  bloodshed  in  any  foreign  or 
domestic  warfare.  May  this  commemorative  exposi- 
tion to  which  the  family  of  nations  are  contributing 
their  treasures  of  art  and  industry,  bind  together  the  gov- 
ernments of  the  earth  in  closer  ties  of  fellowship  and 
goodwill,  and  of  social  and  commercial  intercourse." 

On  the  day  before  the  dedication,  the  Cardinal  pre- 
sided at  a  public  debate  on  questions  of  theology  at  the 
Catholic  University  of  St.  Louis,  which  is  directed  by 


the  Jesuit  Fathers.  President  Roosevelt  sat  beside  him 
on  that  occasion. 

Almost  from  the  beginning  of  his  labors  as  a  Bishop, 
Gibbons  was  active  in  missionary  efforts  in  behalf  of  the 
negroes.  He  wished  the  Church  to  put  forth  the  strong- 
est influences  that  would  help  them  in  their  struggle  up- 
ward. His  vigorous  efforts  helped  to  prevent  the  enact- 
ment of  a  separate  coach  law  applying  to  railroads  in 
Maryland,  and  on  another  occasion  he  aided  in  the  de- 
feat of  a  bill  requiring  the  separation  of  the  races  on  the 
street  cars  of  Baltimore. 

Negroes  appreciated  his  benevolent  interest  in  them. 
This  was  expressed  by  a  colored  city  councilman  of  Bal- 
timore, Harry  S.  Cummings,  in  a  letter  addressed  to  the 
Cardinal  on  his  seventy-ninth  birthday,  from  which  the 
following  are  extracts: 

"Regardless  of  race,  creed  or  condition,  the  oppressed 
of  this  land  rightly  look  upon  you  as  their  true  friend, 
and  therefore  as  one  whose  long  life  and  continued 
service  are  a  matter  of  the  deepest  concern  and  of 
earnest  prayer.  You  will  therefore  permit  me,  as  an 
humble  representative  of  my  race  in  this  city,  knowing 
as  I  do  their  sufferings  and  their  hopes,  their  heart  beats 
and  their  yearnings,  their  eternal  gratitude  and  devotion 
to  you  regardless  of  their  religious  leanings,  to  congratu- 
late you  on  this  the  seventy-ninth  anniversary  of  your 
birth,  and  assure  you  that  our  sentiment  is  a  reflex  of 
that  of  the  more  than  10,000,000  negroes  in  this  land." 

In  an  article  in  the  North  American  Review  for  Octo- 
ber, 1905,  the  Cardinal  pronounced  lynching  "a  blot  on 
our  American  civilization."     He  traced  the  evil  to  its 


source  by  pointing  out  the  difficulty  and,  at  times,  the 
impossibility  of  securing  the  prompt  trial  and  punish- 
ment of  offenders  under  the  criminal  laws  which  pre- 
vailed in  a  number  of  States.  Revision  of  these  laws  in 
the  interest  of  speedy  and  effective  justice  and  their  im- 
partial enforcement  he  considered  a  sovereign  remedy  for 
the  trouble. 

A  few  years  previously  he  had  commented  on  recent 
race  troubles  in  the  South  as  follows: 

"In  the  history  of  mankind  it  has  been  observed  that 
when  two  distinct  races  have  coexisted  in  the  same  terri- 
tory, one  race  has  always  exercised  a  certain  supremacy 
over  the  other.  While  this  principle  is  admitted,  it  is 
the  manifest  duty  of  every  patriot,  statesman  and  Chris- 
tian to  see  that  the  relations  between  the  races  should  be 
friendly,  harmonious  and  mutually  beneficial.  The  race 
conflicts,  antagonism  and  bloodshed  which  have  recently 
occurred  in  several  States  of  the  Union  can  be  largely 
traced  to  two  great  causes — the  one-sided  and  ill-directed 
system  of  negro  education  and  the  consequent  abuse  of 
the  ballot-box. 

"The  colored  race  is  naturally  kind  and  gentle,  affec- 
tionate and  grateful,  with  religious  emotions  easily 
aroused.  But  the  education  which  it  is  generally  receiv- 
ing is  calculated  to  sharpen  its  mental  faculties  at  the 
expense  of  its  religious  and  moral  sense.  It  fosters  am- 
bition without  supplying  the  means  of  gratifying  it.  It 
feeds  the  head,  while  the  heart  is  starved.  No  education 
is  complete  that  does  not  teach  the  science  of  self-re- 
straint, and  that  is  found  only  in  the  decalogue  and  the 

"The  abuse  of  the  ballot-box  is  chargeable  more  to 
white  demagogues  than  to  the  blacks  themselves.  The 
politicians  use  the  negro  vote  for  their  own  selfish  pur- 


poses.    I  am  persuaded  that  a  restriction  of  suffrage  by  a 
property  qualification  would  be  a  wise  measure."  ^ 

So  continuous  and  powerful  were  Gibbons'  efforts  in 
behalf  of  both  the  spiritual  and  temporal  welfare  of  the 
negroes,  that  Booker  T.  Washington  spoke  of  him  in  an 
address  in  Baltimore  as  "America's  foremost  champion 
of  the  colored  people." 

On  several  occasions  Gibbons  opposed  restricting  im- 
migration by  means  of  a  broad  educational  requirement. 
In  June,  1906,  he  wrote  to  President  Roosevelt  that  such 
a  law  would  turn  back  much  immigration  that  was  de- 

When  the  movement  was  renewed  in  Congress  in  1915, 
he  sent  a  letter  to  a  mass  meeting  in  Baltimore  held  in 
opposition  to  it  in  which  he  set  forth  the  reasons  for  his 
stand.  He  declared  that  the  proposed  law  "would  bar 
the  ingress  of  great  numbers  of  desirable  prospective 
citizens,  who,  though  unable  to  read  or  write  our 
own  language,  may  be  fairly  well  educated  in  their  own, 
and,  at  least,  may  possess  health,  strength,  virtue,  good 
sense,  business  ability  and  a  desire  to  succeed  with  high 

He  continued: 

"If  this  literacy  test  had  been  applied  in  the  seven- 
teenth century  some  of  those  who  came  over  to  Plymouth 
on  the  Mayflower  and  to  Maryland  on  the  Ark  and  Dove 
would  have  been  politely  informed  that  they  were  unde- 
sirable persons  and  positively  requested  to  return  to  the 
shores  whence  they  came, 

"What  would  this  country  have  amounted  to  as  a 

*  Baltimore  Sun,  November  26,  1898. 


nation  had  its  founders  immediately  after  the  Revolu- 
tion closed  its  portals  to  honest  but  illiterate  immigra- 
tion? Many  of  the  nation's  greatest  men  in  every  field  of 
service  were  immigrants  or  the  sons  of  immigrants.  We 
still  cherish  the  hope  that  this  is  'the  land  of  the  free  and 
the  home  of  the  brave,'  and  the  refuge  of  those  honest  and 
virtuous  men  and  women  who  conscientiously  believe  the 
land  which  gave  them  birth  does  not  give  them  the  rights 
or  advantages  that  good  men  crave  to  live  peacefully  and 

He  protested  on  several  occasions  against  the  persecu- 
tion of  Jews  in  Europe.  While  such  persecutions  were  in 
progress  in  Russia  he  wrote  the  following  letter : 

"Baltimore,  December  15,  1890. 
"Dear  Mr.  Hartogensis: 

''Every  friend  of  humanity  must  deplore  the  system- 
atic persecution  of  the  Jews  in  Russia. 

"For  my  part  I  cannot  well  conceive  how  Christians 
can  entertain  other  than  kind  sentiments  toward  the  He- 
brew race  when  I  consider  how  much  we  are  indebted  to 
them.  We  have  from  them  the  inspired  volume  of  the 
Old  Testament,  which  has  been  the  constitution  in  all 
ages  to  devout  souls;  Christ  Our  Lord,  the  founder  of  our 
religion;  His  Blessed  Mother,  as  well  as  the  Apostles. 
These  facts  attach  me  strongly  to  the  Jewish  race.  .  .  . 
"I  am  yours  very  sincerely, 

"J.  Cardinal  Gibbons." 

In  another  letter  he  wrote  that  he  did  not  credit  for 
an  instant  the  charge  that  Jews  had  committed  murders  in 
Russia  in  order  to  obtain  blood  for  ritual  purposes. 

He  was  opposed  to  confounding  Sunday  with  the  Puri- 
tan Sabbath.  When  a  movement  for  stricter  Sunday 
observance  was  started  in  Baltimore,  early  in  1900,  he 


expressed  his  views  vigorously.  "The  Christian  Sunday," 
he  said,  "prescribes  the  golden  mean  between  rigid  Sab- 
batarianism on  the  one  hand,  and  lax  indulgence  on  the 
other.  Rigorously  enforced  laws  would  cause  a  revul- 
sion of  public  feeling  and  the  pendulum  would  oscillate 
to  excessive  laxity." 

Sunday  he  defined  as  a  day  for  joy,  adding: 

"It  is  a  day  when  we  are  exhorted  to  be  cheerful  with- 
out dissipation,  grave  and  religious  without  sadness  or 
melancholy.  We  should  remember  that  the  Sabbath  was 
made  for  the  man,  and  not  man  for  the  Sabbath ;  that  it 
is  a  day  consecrated  not  only  to  religion,  but  also  to  re- 
laxation in  mind  and  body.  My  idea  of  the  Lord's  Day 
is  expressed  in  these  words  of  the  psalmist :  'This  is  the 
day  which  the  Lord  made;  let  us  rejoice  and  be  glad 
therein.'  " 

In  a  sermon  on  Sunday  observance  ^  he  gave  this  illus- 
tration : 

"A  pious  Puritan  lady  was  in  the  habit  of  locking  up 
her  little  boy's  hobby-horse,  his  toys  and  playthings  on 
the  Lord's  Day,  and  he  was  required  to  spend  a  large  part 
of  the  day  in  religious  reading.  To  encourage  her  son, 
she  would  say  to  him :  'My  boy,  if  you  are  good,  Heaven 
will  be  for  you  a  perpetual  Sabbath.'  But  the  felicity 
which  his  mother  held  out  to  him  did  not  appeal  to  his 
imagination,  ambition,  or  judgment,  and  when  he  grew 
up  he  discarded  the  practise  of  religion  altogether." 

With  President  Roosevelt  and  John  Mitchell,  the 
labor  leader,  the  Cardinal  attended  an  open  air  mass 
meeting  of  the  United  Mine  Workers  and  the  Catholic 

*  Delivered  in  the  Baltimore  Cathedral*  January  4,  1914. 


Total  Abstinence  Union  at  Wilkes-Barre,  Pa.,  August 
lo,  1905.  More  than  100,000  persons  were  present  and 
the  speeches  were  intended  in  part  to  promote  better 
relations  between  labor  and  capital  in  the  coal  mining 
region.  The  Cardinal,  addressing  the  immense  crowd, 
said : 

"The  members  of  society  are  as  closely  bound  together 
as  the  members  of  the  human  body.  I  care  not  whether 
a  man  possess  the  wealth  of  a  Rockefeller,  a  Vander- 
bilt  or  an  Astor,  what  will  his  wealth  avail  him  if  he  has 
no  friend  to  grasp  his  hand"?  What  would  it  avail  any 
man  to  own  all  the  coal  mines  in  Pennsylvania  and  West 
Virginia  if  there  was  no  hardy  son  of  toil  to  dig  the 
coal  and  transport  it  to  the  centers  of  commerce  *?" 

His  sympathies  were  warmly  enlisted  in  the  fight 
against  the  ravages  of  tuberculosis.  In  October,  1907, 
he  addressed  a  letter  to  the  secretary-general  of  the  Inter- 
national Congress  on  Tuberculosis,  which  was  held  in 
Washington  in  the  following  year,  expressing  the  belief 
that  the  disease  would  ultimately  be  brought  under  as 
complete  control  as  yellow  fever,  from  which  he  had 
been  a  sufferer  in  his  youth  in  New  Orleans. 

There  was  no  more  rigorous  critic  of  faults  in  American 
life  than  Gibbons — faults  in  politics,  in  social  conditions 
and  in  business  life.  In  a  sermon  ^  he  condemned  ex- 
travagance in  living  and  business  dishonesty,  saying: 

"There  is  another  form  of  dishonest  life  far  more  com- 
mon and  reprehensible  ...  I  refer  to  the  pernicious 
habit  of  living  above  one's  means.  In  fact,  this  vice  may 
be  considered  as  characteristic  of  Americans.    Our  coun- 

'  Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  490-491. 


trymen  are  fond  of  making  money,  but  they  are  still 
fonder  of  squandering  it.  It  has  been  said  with  truth 
that  a  French  or  German  family  can  subsist  on  what  is 
wasted  by  an  American  family. 

"One  of  the  causes  of  this  fatal  extravagance  is  the 
love  of  self-indulgence  and  the  ambition  of  keeping  pace 
with  our  neighbor  in  the  race  for  social  distinction.  I  am 
envious  of  my  neighbor  when  I  observe  that  he  keeps  a 
splendid  equipage ;  that  his  house  is  elegantly  furnished ; 
that  he  fares  sumptuously;  that  he  entertains  lavishly; 
that  his  wife  is  dressed  in  the  latest  fashion,  and  I  am 
determined  not  to  be  outdone  by  him.  I  enter  upon  a 
career  of  prodigality  totally  disproportionate  to  my  in- 
come. But  in  a  few  years  I  find  myself  overwhelmed 
with  debt  and  on  the  road  to  bankruptcy.  I  have  been 
burning  the  candle  at  both  ends.  I  have  been  squander- 
ing my  present  income,  and  have  been  mortgaging  my 
future  revenue. 

"The  man  who  lives  beyond  his  means  is  not  leading 
an  honest  life.  My  young  friends,  you  who  are  on  the 
threshold  of  a  business  career,  practise  a  rigid  economy. 
Live  within  your  income,  no  matter  how  modest  that  in- 
come may  be. 

"Save  up  something  for  a  rainy  day.  This  is  more 
easily  done  than  you  imagine.  Where  there  is  a  will 
there  is  a  way.  The  wants  of  nature  are  few  and  are 
easily  supplied.  Sweeter  to  your  palate  are  bread  and 
water  in  a  garret,  when  you  are  free  from  debt,  than  is 
a  delicious  feast  to  the  spendthrift  who  is  tortured  by  the 
spectre  of  the  creditor  knocking  at  his  door.  While  the 
insolvent  debtor  is  a  slave,  you  will  possess  a  free  and 
independent  spirit  and  will  enjoy  the  testimony  of  a 
good  conscience." 

In  an  article  on  "Patriotism  and  Politics,"  in  the  North 
American  Review  for  April,   1892,  he  actively  ranged 


himself  on  the  side  of  those  who  were  trying  to  stop  the 
ballot  frauds  which  prevailed  in  many  States.  He  em- 
phasized that  when  the  fountains  of  legislation  were  pol- 
luted by  lobbying  and  other  corrupt  means,  when  the 
hand  of  bribery  was  extended  to  municipal,  State  and 
national  legislatures,  when  lawmakers  became  the  pliant 
tools  of  selfish  and  greedy  capitalists,  then,  indeed,  patri- 
otic citizens  had  reason  to  be  alarmed  about  the  future 
of  the  country. 
He  wrote : 

"Let  the  buyers  and  sellers  of  votes  be  declared  in- 
famous, for  they  are  trading  in  our  American  birthright. 
Let  them  be  cast  forth  from  the  pale  of  American  citizen- 
ship and  be  treated  as  outlaws." 

He  cooperated  in  curbing  the  sweatshop  evil.  After 
a  careful  investigation,  he  said  in  a  sermon  that  he  had 
discovered  in  Baltimore  that  sweatshop  workers  received 
"starving  wages,"  and  that  the  result  was  that  in  a  few 
years  they  became  incapacitated.  As  practical  remedies, 
he  urged  agitation  of  the  question  and  pleas  to  the  hu- 
manity of  employers  themselves.  He  even  advocated 
discrimination  by  purchasers  in  favor  of  establishments 
which  "treat  their  employees  with  justice  and  charity." 
The  Cardinal  commended  by  name  the  Consumers' 
League,  an  organization  of  women  who  were  engaged  in 
combating  the  sweatshop  evil,  and  urged  cooperation  by 
all  in  its  efforts. 

After  a  prize  fight  in  1910,  there  was  a  wave  of  pro- 
test throughout  the  country  against  the  exhibition  in 
theaters  of  motion  pictures  reproducing  its  details. 
Gibbons  spoke  with  vigor  on  the  question,  saying : 


"If  the  pictures  of  this  contest  were  permitted,  I  am 
sure  hundreds  of  children  would  see  them,  and  what 
would  be  the  result'?  Their  morals  would  not  only  be 
contaminated,  but  they  would  have  the  wrong  ideal  of 
a  true  hero.  After  seeing  the  pictures  a  boy  would  nat- 
urally infer  that  the  real  American  hero  was  a  man  be- 
spattered with  blood  and  with  a  swollen  eye  given  him  by 
another  in  a  fistic  encounter.  The  boy  would  go  and  try 
to  do  likewise.  This  would  be  a  sad  state  of  affairs. 
There  are  true  heroes  whom  the  young  can  emulate  in  a 
way  to  improve  their  manhood  and  ideals." 

He  was  opposed  to  the  principle  of  national  ownership 
of  public  utilities.  In  an  article  in  the  Outlook  in  1917 
he  gave  the  caution:  "Do  not  nag  the  railroads."  He 
pronounced  the  American  roads  much  more  efficient  than 
those  of  Europe,  and  expressed  the  hope  that  they  might 
continue  in  private  ownership  in  order  to  ward  off  the 
danger  of  a  centralized  power  in  the  body  politic  com- 
posed of  railroad  officials  and  employees. 

Roosevelt  once  said  that  there  was  a  lack  of  candor  on 
the  part  of  public  men  in  the  United  States ;  that  there 
was  only  one  man  who  had  the  courage  to  speak  the  truth 
under  all  circumstances  and  that  man  was  Cardinal 
Gibbons.  The  Cardinal  spurned  the  spread-eagle  type 
of  ostentatious  patriotism,  which  blinds  itself  to  na- 
tional defects  in  dwelling  upon  the  other  side  of  the  pic- 
ture. But  never  once  in  the  voluminous  record  of  his 
public  utterances  did  he  express  doubt  that  evils  of  all 
sorts  from  which  the  United  States  suffered  would  be 
overcome.  In  the  long  processes  of  political  and  social 
development  his  confidence,  as  he  said  repeatedly,  was  in 
the  "intelligence  and  patriotism  of  the  American  people." 


In  order  that  intelligence  and  patriotism  might  not  fail  of 
full  effect,  they  must  be  exercised  through  active  partici- 
pation by  the  individual  citizen  in  public  affairs.  No  one 
set  more  conspicuously  than  he  this  example  which  he 
exhorted  his  fellow-countrymen  to  follow. 


Cardinal  Gibbons  was  within  a  month  of  being  eighty 
years  old  when  the  flame  was  kindled  at  Sarajevo  that 
spread  until  it  had  set  all  Europe  in  a  blaze  of  war.  In 
little  more  than  a  week  after  his  birthday  the  German 
armies  were  streaming  across  the  border  of  Belgium.  He 
had  been  too  practical  to  cherish  dreams  of  a  serene  and 
unclouded  old  age,  but  the  convulsion  of  the  nations 
shocked  him  more  than  it  did  most  men,  because  it  meant 
the  failure,  at  least  temporarily,  of  his  protracted  efforts 
in  behalf  of  world  peace  by  the  arbitral  settlement  of 
international  disputes. 

For  his  own  country  he  had  thought  that  he  saw  com- 
parative safety  in  following  the  counsel  of  Washington 
to  avoid  entanglements  with  Europe,  so  far  as  they  in- 
volved participation  in  offensive  or  defensive  alliances 
that  contained  within  themselves  the  seeds  of  war;  but 
the  project  of  international  cooperation  in  steps  for  the 
prevention  of  war  seemed  to  him  to  be  the  best  means  at 
hand  during  his  lifetime  for  giving  effect  to  what  Wash- 
ington had  sought. 

On  the  day  when  he  learned  that  Germany  had  de- 
clared war  on  Russia,  and  that  the  great  nations  of 
Europe  would  inevitably  be  drawn  in,  he  said : 



"It  is  dreadful.  I  had  hoped  and  prayed  that  such  a 
war  might  be  averted.  The  misery  and  the  sufferings  that 
will  result  from  it  will  be  almost  unfathomable.  ...  I 
had  hoped  against  hope  in  the  last  few  days  that  some- 
thing would  arise  to  prevent  such  a  blight." 

No  American  was  more  grieved  than  he  at  the  depths 
of  suffering  into  which  Belgium  was  plunged.  His  ties 
with  that  country  and  its  royal  family  had  been  close  and 
had  been  renewed  only  a  month  before  the  war  broke  out, 
when  he  had  dined  with  King  Albert  in  the  palace  at 
Brussels,  and  Queen  Elizabeth  had  visited  him  in  Switz- 
erland. He  had  defended  the  government  of  Leopold, 
the  predecessor  of  Albert,  from  the  charge  of  maladmin- 
istration in  the  Congo  State,  though  he  had  not  attempted 
to  exert  any  influence  in  regard  to  the  international  as- 
pects of  that  controversy  which  threatened  for  a  time  to 
assume  a  serious  form.  The  destruction  of  Louvain  Uni- 
versity, where  so  many  Americans  had  received  higher 
training  for  the  priesthood,  moved  him  profoundly. 

He  accepted  the  honorary  presidency  of  the  Central 
Committee  of  the  Belgian  Relief  Fund,  which  was 
formed  in  America  to  aid  women  and  children  made 
destitute  in  the  martyrdom  of  their  country.  Mercier, 
the  hero  Cardinal  of  Belgium,  his  long-time  friend,  soon 
learned  of  the  powerful  help  given  by  Gibbons  in  the 
raising  of  funds  for  relief,  and  began  a  correspondence 
with  him  which  continued  throughout  the  war.  Gibbons 
remarked  that  "too  much  cannot  be  said  in  praise  of  the 
heroism  of  the  little  nation  and  its  King,"  adding: 

"Had  Belgium  acquiesced  in  the  demand  of  Germany, 
and  permitted  the  free  passage  of  the  German  armies, 


they  would  have  marched  straight  to  Calais  and  dictated 
terms  to  the  world.  If  the  Allies  should  prove  victori- 
ous, to  Belgium  should  be  restored  fourfold  what  she  has 

The  death  of  Pius  X  on  August  20,  1914,  which  was 
due  in  large  part,  perhaps  even  wholly,  to  the  shock 
caused  by  the  outbreak  of  the  war,  caused  Gibbons  to 
hasten  to  Rome.  Pius  had  been  crushed  by  a  realization 
of  the  fact  that  the  religious  forces  of  the  world  were 
helpless  to  check  the  progress  of  the  unexampled  strife. 
In  one  of  his  last  moments  he  said : 

"In  ancient  times  the  Pope  by  a  word  might  have 
stayed  the  slaughter,  but  now  he  is  impotent." 

Again  he  remarked  as  death  seemed  at  hand: 

"I  begin  to  think,  as  the  end  is  approaching,  that  the 
Almighty  in  His  inexhaustible  goodness  wishes  to  spare 
me  the  horrors  which  Europe  is  undergoing." 

Gibbons,  who  had  visited  Rome  only  a  few  months 
before,  retraced  his  journey  in  an  effort  to  arrive  in  time 
for  the  conclave  that  was  to  elect  a  successor  to  the  See 
of  Peter.  On  the  day  after  the  death  of  Pius,  he  sailed 
from  New  York  for  Naples  with  Cardinal  O'Connell. 
Cardinal  Farley,  the  third  American  member  of  the 
Sacred  College,  was  then  in  Switzerland. 

Despite  his  eighty  years,  there  was  a  suggestion  in  sev- 
eral quarters  that  Gibbons  might  be  supported  for  the 
supreme  Pontificate.  When  the  matter  was  mentioned 
in  his  presence,  he  remarked  that  he  "preferred  to  be  an 
American  Cardinal." 


Gibbons  and  O'Connell  arrived  in  Naples  on  the  morn- 
ing of  September  3.  A  few  hours  after  they  set  foot  on 
land,  and  before  they  could  reach  the  Eternal  City,  Car- 
dinal della  Chiesa,  Archbishop  of  Bologna,  was  elected 
Pope,  taking  the  name  of  Benedict  XV.  The  vote  of 
Cardinal  Farley  had  prevented  America  from  being  un- 
represented in  the  conclave.  Gibbons  was  one  of  the 
first  persons  outside  of  that  gathering  to  greet  the  new 
Pope,  who  had  had  occasion  in  former  years  to  learn  of 
the  real  reach  of  his  influence  through  having  been  secre- 
tary to  Cardinal  Rampolla.  Benedict  was  being  robed  in 
his  new  white  cassock  when  the  American  Cardinal  ar- 
rived, the  conclave  not  having  been  dissolved. 

At  Benedict's  invitation,  he  remained  in  Rome  for  a 
short  time  and  visited  the  Pope  twice  for  consultation. 
Nine  days  after  his  arrival  he  sailed  for  home,  reaching 
Baltimore  September  24.    Upon  his  return  there  he  said : 

"Thank  God  that  amid  the  horrors  of  war  I  find  here 
our  country  enjoying  the  blessings  of  peace.  Too  much 
praise  cannot  be  bestowed  upon  the  rulers  of  our  nation 
who  have  persistently  refused  to  draw  the  sword,  even 
under  provocations  at  times  trying." 

Four  days  later,  opening  a  convention  in  Baltimore  of 
the  American  Federation  of  Catholic  Societies,  he  prayed 
for  peace,  asking  that  Divine  guidance  be  given  to  Presi- 
dent Wilson  and  the  administration.  The  President  hav- 
ing requested  general  prayers  for  peace  on  October  4, 
Gibbons  issued  a  circular  to  the  priests  of  his  diocese  in 
which  he  said : 

"In  compliance  with  the  edifying  invitation  of  the 
President,  you  are  hereby  directed  to  signalize  Sunday, 


the  fourth  day  of  October,  with  some  special  prayers  of 
devotion  directed  to  Almighty  God,  to  obtain  from  Him 
the  blessings  of  peace  for  the  warring  nations  of  Europe, 
and  in  your  sermon  on  that  day  you  will  urge  upon  your 
people  to  pray  for  the  same  holy  intention  in  their  private 
devotions  at  home." 

In  the  first  few  months  of  the  war,  Gibbons  saw 
nothing  that  Americans  could  do  to  avert  the  fate  which 
was  overtaking  Europe,  except  to  pray  for  peace  and  to 
assist  those  made  homeless  by  the  conflict.  As  it  seemed 
to  him,  there  were  two  great  influences  which  in  some 
way  might  become  effective  later  in  ending  the  slaughter. 
These  were  the  Holy  See,  which  implored  peace  by  the 
best  practical  means  that  could  be  found  by  statesmen, 
and  the  United  States,  which,  being  then  in  a  detached 
position,  might  find  an  opening  for  the  exercise  of  its 
good  offices.  What  that  opening  might  be,  he  could  not 
see;  still  he  hoped  that  it  would  be  disclosed.  As  a  gen- 
eral course  of  action  for  Americans,  he  advised  prudence 
and  calmness  in  speech  and  action. 

He  was  moved  to  emphasize  his  exhortation  to  calm- 
ness when  the  news  of  the  sinking  of  the  Lusitania 
reached  him.    He  said : 

"I  feel  the  greatest  horror  over  this  tragedy — so  many 
women,  children  and  other  non-combatants  losing  their 
lives.  The  American  people  must  be  calm  and  prudent. 
It  is  best  to  leave  the  destinies  of  the  nation  in  the  hands 
of  the  President  and  the  government.  Popular  sentiment 
is  not  a  standard  to  be  followed  too  hastily.  The  calm 
deliberation  of  our  national  executive  will  lead  to  the  best 
solution.    In  the  meantime  the  thing  for  the  people  to  do 


is  to  ask  Almighty  God  in  fervent  prayer  to  guide  our 
government  to  the  best  and  wisest  solution." 

He  urged  "trust  in  God,  in  His  wisdom.  His  justice 
and  His  love,"  saying: 

"While  we  cannot  understand  His  thought,  we  may 
be  sure  that  for  some  good  reason  He  has  permitted  this 
dreadful  strife.  God  is  the  moral  ruler  of  the  nations 
and  while  the  human  mind  shrinks  appalled  at  the  de- 
struction of  life  and  property,  we  can  still  believe  that 
out  of  it  good  will  come  to  the  world  when  nations  shall 
have  been  humbled  for  their  pride,  their  desire  for  con- 
quest and  their  forgetfulness  of  the  higher  things.  Then, 
in  their  humiliation,  when  they  have  learned  that  it  is 
not  by  might,  nor  armies,  nor  cannon,  nor  rifles  that  na- 
tions come  to  truest  greatness,  the  world  will  see  how  He 
has  made  even  the  wrath  of  man  to  praise  Him." 

He  continued  to  hope  that  America  might  escape  being 
drawn  into  the  conflict.  After  the  torpedoing  of  the 
Arabic^  he  said: 

'T  feel  that  the  loss  of  a  few  lives  on  the  Arabic  com- 
pares as  a  feather  when  weighed  against  the  awful  calam- 
ity of  war.  If  war  comes,  it  will  mean  more  than  the  loss 
of  a  few  lives.  .  .  .  Our  best  men  will  be  sacrificed.  I 
hope  that  the  people  will  consider  this  well  before  they 

When,  soon  after  the  Arabic  incident,  Germany  gave  a 
definite  promise  to  the  United  States  to  modify  her 
methods  of  submarine  warfare,  Gibbons  became  the 
medium  of  communications  between  Pope  Benedict  and 
President  Wilson  in  regard  to  steps  which  might  be  taken 
to  bring  the  conflict  to  an  end.  The  position  of  the 
Papacy  had  been  well  known  from  the  beginning,  and 


Benedict  was  now  convinced  that,  as  President  Wilson 
had  shown  to  both  groups  of  belligerents  the  fairness  and 
goodwill  of  the  American  government,  he  was  in  a  posi- 
tion to  address  them  with  some  authority  in  a  manner 
which  might  ultimately  lead  to  a  settlement  without 
prolongation  of  the  bloodshed.  For  his  part,  the  Pope 
expressed  his  readiness  to  give  the  whole  support  of  the 
Catholic  Church  to  the  person,  institution  or  country  that 
undertook  the  "noble  mission  of  ending  the  war." 

Gibbons  called  upon  President  Wilson  September  2, 
and  they  discussed  the  entire  situation,  after  which  he 
conferred  with  Secretary  Lansing  at  the  State  Depart- 
ment. He  engaged  in  a  general  discussion  with  both 
officials  as  to  the  prospects  of  effective  action  for  peace. 
It  appeared,  however,  that  neither  of  the  belligerent 
groups  was  willing  to  invite  the  United  States,  even  in- 
formally, to  intervene,  and  that  nothing  which  would 
have  any  important  result  in  that  direction  could  be 
undertaken  at  the  time.  There  was  accomplished,  how- 
ever, through  the  medium  of  Gibbons,  a  full  understand- 
ing between  the  Vatican  and  the  White  House  as  to  the 
position  of  both  regarding  the  outlook,  and  while  Gibbons 
still  cherished  the  hope  that  some  action  in  behalf  of 
peace  might  be  taken,  he  was  under  no  illusion  that  it 
was  possible  to  attain  that  before  one  of  the  warring 
groups  had  been  reduced  to  greater  extremity  than  was  the 
case  then. 

A  little  later  ^  he  expressed  the  view  that  there  was  as 
yet  no  prospect  that  the  United  States  would  be  drawn 
into  the  war.    He  said : 
*  November  i6,  1915. 


"I  am  not  in  favor  of  preparedness  for  war,  and  neither 
am  I  in  favor  of  peace  at  any  price.  .  .  .  What  have  we 
to  fear*?  The  nations  of  Europe  are  exerting  their  physi- 
cal and  financial  strength,  and  not  one  of  them  is  anxious 
to  cope  with  a  new  foe.  They  do  not  seek  conquest  on 
this  side  of  the  world.  Rather  are  they  anxious  to  attain 
friendly  relations  with  this  great  nation.  Therefore  I 
see  no  reason  why  we  should  fear  hostilities." 

He  rebuked  those  who  asserted  that  the  war  indicated 
failure  on  the  part  of  Christianity,  saying: 

''Christianity  is  not  an  issue  in  the  war,  because  those 
who  entered  the  war  are  not  following  the  teachings  of 
Christ.  He  taught  peace  on  earth.  .  .  .  Had  the  natiens 
followed  the  teachings  of  Christ,  there  would  be  no  war 

He  was  one  of  the  first  to  call  attention  to  the  fact  that 
the  war  was  turning  men's  minds  to  religion.  Late  in 
1915  he  said: 

"A  tremendous  religious  reawakening  all  over  Europe 
is  already  beginning  to  show.  Particularly  is  this  true 
in  France  and  Germany.  Men  are  coming  to  realize  the 
need  and  comfort  of  religion." 

He  refused  to  associate  himself  in  any  way  with  the 
movement  of  Henry  Ford,  which  resulted  in  the  sending 
of  an  unofficial  American  peace  mission  to  Europe.  Ford 
called  upon  him  in  Baltimore  and  outlined  the  plan  to 
him  but  was  unable  to  alter  the  Cardinal's  view  that  it 
would  be  ineffective.  When  the  League  to  Enforce  Peace 
was  formed,  however,  he  saw  in  it  at  least  the  germ  of  a 
practical  idea,  and  wrote  thus  to  its  head,  ex-President 


"The  plan  is  a  sane  one,  for  it  does  not  make  the  mis- 
take of  disregarding  the  fact  that  human  nature  in  the 
future  will  be  very  much  the  same  as  today  and  yester- 
day. The  passions  of  men  cannot  be  wholly  eliminated. 
The  same  is  true  of  their  weaknesses;  but  much  could  be 
done  to  curb  the  one  and  strengthen  the  other."  ^ 

The  accumulating  complications  of  the  war  that  in- 
volved America  caused  Gibbons  at  last  to  accept  reluc- 
tantly the  view  that  his  country  could  not  escape  par- 
ticipation. His  thoughts  then  turned  to  preparation  for 
the  emergency  which  he  regarded  as  almost  inevitable. 
On  his  eighty-second  birthday  he  declared  for  universal 
military  training  to  "safeguard  the  nation,  build  up  its 
manhood,  and  fuse  its  foreign  strains."     He  said: 

"The  camp  schools  make  a  man  stronger  and  broader. 
They  make  him  more  patriotic  and  more  fit  physically, 
morally,  socially  and  intellectually.  They  take  him  from 
the  passions  of  vice  and  sin.  They  throw  him  in  touch 
with  men  of  other  circumstances,  from  other  places. 
They  make  him  feel  that  there  is  something  out  there  in 
the  nation  which  demands  his  loyalty  and  service.  They 
bring  the  rich  man  and  the  poor  man  together  on  an  equal 
footing,  and  teach  them  that  they  owe  an  equal  alle- 

His  conviction  that  America  must  meet  the  shock 
deepened  fast,  and  when  the  final  steps  were  taken  that 
pledged  the  nation  on  the  side  of  the  Allies  he  was  fully 
prepared.  On  April  6,  the  day  when  the  Congressional 
resolution  was  passed  declaring  that  a  state  of  war  existed 
between  the  United  States  and  Germany,  the  Cardinal 

'May,  1916. 


said  that  "there  must  be  no  shirkers."  He  expressed  his 
complete  readiness  to  support  his  country  in  any  way  and 
urged  Catholic  young  men  to  enlist,  saying: 

"In  the  present  emergency  it  behooves  every  American 
citizen  to  do  his  duty  and  to  uphold  the  hands  of  the 
President  and  the  legislative  department  in  the  solemn 
obligation  that  confronts  us.  The  primary  duty  of  a 
citizen  is  loyalty  to  his  country.  This  loyalty  is  mani- 
fested more  by  acts  than  words ;  by  solemn  service  rather 
than  empty  declamation.  It  is  exhibited  in  absolute  and 
unreserved  obedience  to  his  country's  call. 

"Both  houses  of  Congress,  with  the  executive,  are 
charged  and  sworn  to  frame  those  laws  that  are  demanded 
by  the  present  crisis.  Whatever,  therefore.  Congress  may 
decide  should  be  unequivocally  complied  with  by  every 
patriotic  citizen.  The  members  of  both  houses  of  Con- 
gress are  the  instruments  of  God  in  guiding  us  in  our 
civic  duties.  It  behooves  all  of  us,  therefore,  to  pray 
that  the  Lord  of  Hosts  may  inspire  our  national  legisla- 
ture and  executive  to  frame  such  laws  in  the  present 
crisis  as  will  redound  to  the  glory  of  our  country,  to 
righteousness  of  conduct,  and  to  the  future  permanent 
peace  of  the  nations  of  the  world." 

Under  the  leadership  of  Gibbons,  the  Catholics  of  the 
United  States  were  the  first  religious  body  to  pledge  their 
full  and  active  support  to  the  government.  On  April  18, 
twelve  days  after  the  declaration  of  war,  the  Archbishops, 
on  his  proposal,  adopted  the  following  resolution  at  their 
annual  meeting  held  at  the  Catholic  University  in  Wash- 
ington : 

"Standing  firmly  upon  our  solid  Catholic  tradition  and 
history,  from  the  very  foundation  of  this  nation,  we  af- 
firm in  this  hour  of  stress  and  trial  our  most  sacred  and 


sincere  loyalty  and  patriotism  toward  our  country,  our 
government,  and  our  flag. 

"Moved  to  the  very  depths  of  our  hearts  by  the  stirring 
appeal  of  the  President  of  the  United  States,  and  by  the 
action  of  our  National  Congress,  we  accept  whole-heart- 
edly and  unreservedly  the  decree  of  that  legislative 
authority  proclaiming  this  country  to  be  in  a  state  of  war. 

"We  have  prayed  that  we  might  be  spared  the  dire 
necessity  of  entering  the  conflict,  but  now  that  war  has 
been  declared  we  bow  in  obedience  to  the  summons  to  bear 
our  part  in  it  with  fidelity,  with  courage  and  with  the 
spirit  of  sacrifice  which  as  loyal  citizens  we  are  bound  to 
manifest  for  the  defense  of  the  most  sacred  rights,  and 
the  welfare  of  the  whole  nation. 

"Acknowledging  gladly  the  gratitude  that  we  have 
always  felt  for  the  protection  of  our  spiritual  liberty  and 
the  freedom  of  our  Catholic  institutions,  under  the  flag, 
we  pledge  our  devotion  and  our  strength  in  the  mainte- 
nance of  our  country's  glorious  leadership  in  these  posses- 
sions and  principles  which  have  been  America's  proudest 

"Inspired  neither  by  hate  nor  fear,  but  by  the  holy 
sentiments  of  truest  patriotic  fervor  and  zeal,  we  stand 
ready,  we  and  all  the  flock  committed  to  our  keeping,  to 
co-operate  in  every  way  possible  with  our  President  and 
our  national  government,  to  the  end  that  the  great  and 
holy  cause  of  liberty  may  triumph  and  that  our  beloved 
country  may  emerge  from  this  hour  of  test  stronger  and 
nobler  than  ever. 

"Our  people,  as  ever,  will  rise  as  one  man  to  serve  the 
nation.  Our  priests  and  consecrated  women  will  once 
again,  as  in  every  former  trial  of  our  country,  win  by  their 
bravery,  their  heroism  and  their  service  new  admiration 
and  approval. 

"We  are  all  true  Americans,  ready  as  our  age,  our 
ability  and  our  condition  permit,  to  do  whatever  is  in  us 


to  do  for  the  preservation,  the  progress  and  triumph  of 
our  beloved  country. 

"May  God  direct  and  guide  our  President  and  our  gov- 
ernment, that  out  of  this  trying  crisis  in  our  national  life 
may  at  length  come  a  closer  union  among  all  citizens  of 
America  and  that  an  enduring  and  blessed  peace  may 
crown  the  sacrifices  which  war  inevitably  entails." 

Gibbons  sent  the  resolutions  the  next  day  to  President 
Wilson,  who  responded  in  a  letter  in  which  he  wrote : 

"The  very  remarkable  resolutions  unanimously  adopted 
by  Archbishops  of  the  United  States  at  their  annual  meet- 
ing in  the  Catholic  University  on  April  i8th  last,  a  copy 
of  which  you  were  kind  enough  to  send  me,  warmed  my 
heart  and  made  me  proud  indeed  that  men  of  such  large 
influence  should  act  in  so  large  a  sense  of  patriotism  and 
so  admirable  a  spirit  of  devotion  to  our  common 
country."  ^ 

The  measure  of  the  response  brought  forth  by  this 
attitude  of  the  leaders  of  the  Church  in  America  may  be 
gathered  from  the  fact  that  Secretary  Baker  later  esti- 
mated the  number  of  Catholics  in  the  military  and  naval 
service  at  approximately  one  third  of  the  total,  although 
Catholics  formed  but  one  sixth  of  the  population. 

From  that  moment  until  the  war  closed  Gibbons,  in  all 
his  public  utterances  that  related  to  the  supreme  effort 
which  America  put  forth,  exhorted  the  fullest  support 
of  the  public  authorities.  In  an  address  at  the  commence- 
ment of  Mt.  St.  Mary's  College,  Emmitsburg,  Maryland, 
on  June  19,  1917,  he  told  the  graduates  that  the  United 
States  had  entered  the  conflict  against  Germany  for  prin- 

'  Letter  of  President  Wilson  to  Cardinal  Gibbons,  April  27,  1917. 


ciples  based  upon  the  solid  foundation  of  justice  and 
righteousness,  saying : 

"We  have  not  entered  the  terrible  struggle  simply  for 
the  glory  that  is  in  it ;  we  have  a  nobler  and  a  higher  mo- 
tive. God  will  guide  our  armies  in  the  field  and  bring 
them  to  victory,  because  we  are  on  the  side  of  right.  No 
standing  army  or  superdreadnaught  ever  put  together  can 
win  a  war  for  any  other  cause." 

Herbert  Hoover  conferred  with  Gibbons  soon  after 
the  declaration  of  war  regarding  the  conservation  of  the 
food  supplies  of  the  country,  soliciting  his  aid  in  the 
steps  which  the  government  was  about  to  take  with  that 
end  in  view.  The  Cardinal  promptly  sent  a  letter  to  the 
priests  in  his  archdiocese,  urging  them  to  impress  upon 
their  congregations  the  need  of  saving  food  as  a  factor  in 
bringing  victory. 

The  Knights  of  Columbus  were  among  the  first  organi- 
zations which  took  effective  action  both  for  sustaining  the 
general  war  measures  of  the  government  and  for  helping 
the  soldiers  and  sailors  called  for  service.  The  directors 
of  that  order,  at  a  meeting  in  Washington  April  14, 
passed  resolutions  declaring  that  "the  crisis  confronting 
our  country  calls  for  the  active  cooperation  and  patriotic 
zeal  of  every  true  citizen."  They  reaffirmed  "the  patri- 
otic devotion  of  400,000  members  of  this  order  in  this 
country  to  our  republic  and  its  laws,"  and  pledged  their 
"continued  and  unconditional  support  of  the  President 
and  the  Congress  of  this  nation  in  their  determination 
to  protect  its  honor  and  its  ideals  of  humanity  and  right." 
President  Wilson,  in  a  letter  of  acknowledgment,  pro- 
nounced this  support  "most  enheartening." 


The  Catholic  Young  Men's  Union  also  undertook 
active  work  in  support  of  the  government.  The  Rev. 
John  J.  Burke,  editor  of  the  Catholic  World,  founded  the 
Chaplains'  Aid  Association,  whose  object  was  to  supply 
a  sufficient  number  of  Catholic  chaplains  for  the  soldiers 
and  sailors  and  to  assist  them  in  their  work. 

As  Father  Burke  proceeded  with  his  undertaking,  he 
perceived  the  need  of  a  more  coordinated  organization 
for  marshaling  the  Catholics  of  the  nation  for  the  war. 
He  laid  before  Cardinal  Gibbons  the  project  of  calling  a 
general  meeting  of  Catholic  societies  for  the  purpose  of 
unifying  the  war  work.  Gibbons  asked  him  to  consult 
Cardinals  O'Connell  and  Farley,  and  if  they  concurred 
in  his  program  to  take  the  necessary  steps  for  holding  the 
meeting  as  soon  as  possible.  The  three  Cardinals  were 
unanimous  as  to  the  necessities  of  the  case. 

At  a  meeting  held  August  ii  and  12  at  the  Catholic 
University,  at  which  were  present  representatives,  both 
clerical  and  lay,  from  sixty-eight  dioceses  in  the  United 
States,  and  representatives  of  many  Catholic  organiza- 
tions, the  National  Catholic  War  Council  was  formed  to 
assist  the  government  by  unifying  all  Catholic  war  ac- 
tivities, by  the  establishment  of  local  boards  for  the 
same  purpose  in  each  diocese,  and,  acting  through  the 
Knights  of  Columbus,  by  giving  support  to  the  welfare 
work  for  the  soldiers  in  the  camps.  Father  Burke  was 
elected  the  first  president  of  the  council. 

That  bo'dy  proceeded  with  its  task  in  full  cooperation 
with  the  numerous  non-Catholic  organizations  having  the 
same  objects  in  view  which  sprang  up  out  of  the  general 
patriotic  outburst  of  the  people.    It  had  been  supposed  at 


the  beginning  that  $1,000,000  would  be  sufficient  for  its 
needs,  but  so  greatly  did  its  operations  expand  that  nearly 
$50,000,000  were  required  in  the  end.* 

As  the  fast-spreading  activities  of  the  council  empha- 
sized the  need  of  a  still  more  compact  organization,  Car- 
dinal Gibbons  addressed  a  letter  to  the  Hierarchy  early 
in  November,  proposing  the  formation  of  a  new  National 
Catholic  War  Council  to  be  composed  of  the  Archbishops. 
This  letter  embodied  a  decision  taken  at  an  informal  dis- 
cussion by  the  prelates  who  had  attended  a  meeting  of 
the  Catholic  University  trustees.  In  his  letter,  Gibbons 
set  forth  that  it  was  their  unanimous  opinion  that  the 
Hierarchy  should  act  in  concert  in  the  support  of  the  gov- 
ernment during  the  war;  that  the  responsibility  of  taking 
the  lead  rested  upon  the  Board  of  Archbishops,  and  that 
they  should  organize  without  delay  as  a  Catholic  War 
Council,  associating  with  themselves  a  number  of  the 
Bishops  for  the  active  execution  of  the  general  plan.  He 
added  that  the  war  "puts  to  the  severest  test  not  only 
our  spirit  of  zeal,  but  our  ability  to  organize  and,  with 
new  difficulties,  all  realize  that  the  situation  demands 
the  best  thought  and  the  best  efforts  of  us  all." 

Responses  to  Gibbons'  letter  were  unanimously  favor- 
able. On  December  19  he  sent  a  second  letter  to  the 
Archbishops,  proposing  that  as  they  could  not  meet  as 
frequently  as  the  situation  demanded,  the  active  man- 
agement of  the  War  Council's  activities  should  be  in- 
trusted to  a  committee  of  Bishops.  This  plan  having 
been  approved,  an  administrative  committee'  of  Bishops 

*  Michael  Williams,  American  Catholics  in  the  fFar,  pp.  113,  et  scq. 

"The  members  of  this  committee  were  the  Rt.  Revs.  P.  J.   Muldoon, 

Bishop  of  Rockford,   Chairman;   Joseph   Schremos,   Bishop  of  Toledo; 


was  appointed.  Gibbons  called  together  the  members  of 
this  committee  in  a  letter  dated  January  12,  1918,  defin- 
ing their  work  as  the  direction  and  control,  with  the  help 
of  the  American  Hierarchy,  of  all  Catholic  activities  con- 
nected with  the  war.  Father  Burke  was  appointed  chair- 
man of  a  committee  on  special  war  activities. 

The  War  Department  of  the  federal  government  was 
quick  to  realize  the  potent  help  which  could  now  be  ob- 
tained by  calling  upon  the  Catholic  forces  of  the  nation 
through  the  agencies  thus  set  up.  In  the  unexampled 
efforts  which  were  put  forth  by  the  American  people  as 
a  whole  to  assist  their  government  and  minister  to  the 
spiritual  and  material  welfare  of  the  soldiers  and  sailors, 
the  National  Catholic  War  Council  bore  a  distinguished 

Gibbons,  as  president  of  that  Council,  as  well  as  in 
numerous  other  capacities,  became  the  greatest  individual 
force,  outside  of  a  small  circle  of  men  holding  high  public 
offices,  in  sustaining  the  government  during  the  war.  His 
more  than  eighty  years  appeared  to  sit  lightly  upon  him 
when  he  was  called  upon  to  respond  either  by  deed  or 
word  to  the  needs  of  the  nation  in  its  supreme  effort.  On 
his  birthday  in  1917  he  gave  the  following  message  to 
those  about  to  enroll  themselves  for  the  immense  army 
that  was  then  forming: 

"Be  Americans  always.  Remember  that  you  owe  all 
to  America,  and  be  prepared,  if  your  country  demands  it, 
to  give  all  in  return." 

Patrick  J.  Hayes,  then  Auxiliary  Bishop  of  New  York,  and  William  T. 
Russell,  Bishop  of  Charleston. 


He  wrote  to  President  Wilson  on  October  i  of  that 
year,  deploring  excessive  criticism  of  the  war  policies 
taken  by  the  government,  saying : 

"In  these  days  of  the  gravest  problems  which  have  ever 
weighed  upon  our  American  government,  our  thoughts  go 
out  to  the  chief  executive,  warmed  by  heartfelt  sympathy 
for  the  heavy  burdens  of  office  which  he  must  bear,  and 
freighted  with  the  unwavering  determination  of  loyal 
citizens  to  stand  by  him  in  his  every  effort  to  bring  suc- 
cess to  our  armies,  and  to  achieve  those  ideals  of  justice 
and  humanity  which  compelled  our  entrance  into  the 

The  President  replied  to  him  in  terms  of  deep  apprecia- 

In  a  sermon  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on  Sunday, 
October  28,  Gibbons  urged  all  to  pray  for  the  United 
States  and  to  give  complete  support  to  the  government. 
He  said: 

"The  paramount  duty  of  American  citizens  in  the  pres- 
ent crisis  is  a  hearty  and  loyal  obedience  to  the  consti- 
tuted authorities.  Be  slow  to  criticize.  Remember  that 
you  view  the  subject  from  one  angle.  Your  rulers  con- 
template it  from  various  angles.  They  have  lights  and 
sources  of  information  that  are  closed  to  you. 

"Your  judgment  of  the  administration  and  your  criti- 
cism of  their  official  acts  should  be  always  subordinated 
to  a  generous  and  whole  souled  submission  to  their  rul- 
ings. It  is  theirs  to  command ;  it  is  yours  to  obey,  and  in 
manifesting  your  loyalty  to  your  country  you  will  be 
pursuing  a  sacred  and  honorable  course,  and  will  be  fol- 
lowing the  invariable  traditions  of  your  fathers  from 
the  foundation  of  the  republic. 

"Do  not  attempt  to  snatch  faded  laurels  from  the 


brows  of  your  fathers.  Let  your  own  heads  be  crowned 
with  fresh  garlands.  Say  not  like  the  Jews  of  old :  'We 
have  Abraham  for  our  father.'  Say  not,  'We  are  the  po- 
litical children  of  Washington  and  the  religious  children 
of  Carroll.'  It  will  profit  you  nothing  to  possess  their 
creed  if  you  do  not  practise  their  civic  and  religious 

He  continued  to  defend  the  justice  of  America's  cause. 
On  December  19,  he  issued  a  statement  that  in  entering 
the  war  "we  took  the  only  course  open  to  us,"  adding: 

"As  an  evidence  of  the  righteousness  of  America's  cause 
in  the  war,  I  would  point  to  the  patience  of  our  President 
and  Congress  under  the  long  series  of  grave  injuries  and 
broken  pledges  endured  by  the  United  States  during  the 
time  when  Germany  was  professing  friendship  for  us. 
We  were  shocked  to  see  our  property  unjustly  destroyed 
in  vast  quantity,  but  what  was  immeasurably  more  seri- 
ous was  to  read  of  our  men,  women  and  children  killed 
in  violation  of  the  universally  accepted  customs  of  the 

"When,  at  length,  not  only  American  citizens  but 
neutrals  everywhere  suffered  appallingly  under  the  cruel- 
ties of  a  nation  which  hesitated  not  to  disregard  inter- 
national law,  we  learned  that  patience  was  being  con- 
strued as  cowardice,  and  that  it  was  folly  to  hope  that 
wiser  councils  would  prevail  among  our  enemies  to  bring 
about  a  change  in  their  lawless  policy.  Then  we  took  the 
only  course  open  to  us,  the  defense  of  our  sovereign 
rights,  as  a  nation  upholding  the  ideals  of  truth  and  jus- 
tice in  the  hearts  of  all  peoples. 

"We  have  entered  the  struggle  with  a  clear  conscience, 
seeking  no  territorial  or  financial  gain,  but  the  peace  of 
the  world,  the  liberty  of  its  people  and  the  security  of  all 


Meanwhile  Gibbons  freely  lent  his  immense  influence 
to  the  stimulation  of  war  activities  not  directly  connected 
with  the  policy  of  the  government  or  with  naval  and  mili- 
tary operations.  He  encouraged  the  women  to  give  their 
active  help  to  their  country,  and  in  an  address  to  the 
Baltimore  Catholic  Women's  War  Relief  Organization, 
late  in  1917,  suggested  that  the  needle  might  even  prove 
to  be  mightier  than  the  sword,  saying: 

"The  sword  is  a  weapon  of  destruction;  the  needle  is 
an  instrument  of  construction.  .  .  .  While  you  are 
seated  over  your  work  and  while  your  busy  hands  are 
plying  the  needle,  let  your  hearts  expand  in  sympathy  for 
the  loved  ones  who  are  so  far  away,  and  let  your  lips 
whisper  a  prayer  that  they  may  return  safe  to  their 
beloved  ones  at  home." 

He  issued  several  urgent  appeals  in  the  course  of  the 
war  for  the  support  of  the  American  Red  Cross.  To  the 
pupils  of  the  Catholic  schools,  he  made  an  especial  request 
to  enroll  as  junior  members  of  the  Red  Cross,  declaring 
that  "in  this  time  of  peril  our  country  needs  the  services 
of  the  children  as  well  as  of  the  adults." 

It  being  desired  that  coal  miners  should  work  on  holy 
days  and  legal  holidays,  in  order  to  keep  up  the  country's 
supply  of  fuel,  the  help  of  Gibbons  was  asked.  In  a  let- 
ter to  Fuel  Administrator  Garfield,  he  urged  that  the 
miners  should  work  on  such  days  until  the  coal  scarcity 
was  over.     He  wrote: 

"It  will  be  an  invaluable  service  to  the  country  and  to 
humanity  if  they  (the  coal  miners)  will  work  regularly 
and  avoid  unnecessary  loss  of  time,  for  every  ton  of  coal 
which  they  place  at  the  disposal  of  industries  contributes 


toward  the  success  of  the  nation  in  the  titanic  struggle  on 
which  we  have  entered." 

On  January  12,  1918,  he  issued  an  appeal  in  behalf  of 
the  war  thrift  campaign,  saying: 

"The  door  of  opportunity  to  serve  our  country  is  flung 
wide  open  for  practically  every  man,  woman  and  child 
by  the  sale  of  War  Savings  Stamps.  ...  I  earnestly 
commend  to  young  and  old,  and  more  particularly  to 
parents,  this  simple  and  easy  method  of  acquiring  the 
habit  of  thrift.  We  have  reached  a  time  when  no  loyal 
citizen  of  our  country  can  afford  to  spend  a  dollar  for 
wasteful  luxuries.  Such  an  expenditure  resolves  itself 
into  a  disloyal  act.  .  .  . 

"I  urge  upon  our  clergy  and  our  parochial  schools  to 
aid  in  every  way  in  the  purchase  of  war  savings  stamps. 
For  the  help  it  gives  to  our  country's  cause,  for  the  good 
it  will  be  to  those  who  take  such  steps,  may  this  move- 
ment carry  its  patriotic  and  practical  mission  to  every 
nook  and  corner  of  the  nation." 

Preaching  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on  Sunday,  Feb- 
ruary 14,*^  Gibbons  declared  that  the  German  war  aims 
would  fail.  After  emphasizing  that  the  "spiritual  re- 
public" founded  by  the  Apostles  without  the  sword  had 
endured,  he  continued: 

"What  does  this  prove?  ...  It  proves  that  all 
schemes  conceived  in  passion  and  fomented  by  lawless 
ambition,  of  which  the  present  world-wide  war  is  a  strik- 
ing illustration,  are  doomed  like  the  mountain  torrent  to 
carry  terror  before  them,  and  to  leave  ruin  and  desolation 
after  them,  while  the  mission  of  men  laboring  under  the 
inspiration  of  heaven  is  destined  to  shed  blessings  around 
them  and  to  bring  forth  abundant  fruit  in  due  season. 



Let  us  earnestly  pray  that  our  brave  young  soldiers  who 
are  now  in  the  trenches,  or  who  are  preparing  to  go  there, 
may  be  preserved  in  their  faith  and  morals  from  the  dan- 
gers that  surround  them,  and  that  they  may  heroically 
fulfil  their  mission." 

From  time  to  time,  as  the  war  progressed  in  intensity 
and  the  sufferings  which  it  brought  were  deepened,  the 
Pope  was  condemned  in  some  quarters  for  not  having 
taken  a  pronounced  stand  in  regard  to  the  conflict  at  its 
outset.  Gibbons,  in  an  article  in  America^  the  Jesuit 
Weekly,^  defended  the  course  of  Benedict  XV.  He 
showed  that  it  was  not  Benedict  but  Pius  who  was  reign- 
ing when  Belgium  was  invaded  in  1914,  and  that  Pius 
was  already  in  the  shadow  of  death;  that  Benedict  had 
strongly  reprobated  the  violation  of  Belgium,  had  pro- 
tested to  Russia  against  the  violence  to  persons  and  con- 
science in  the  early  occupations  of  East  Prussia  and 
Galicia,  and  had  labored  for  prisoners  and  the  war  crip- 
pled and  blind.     In  this  article  Gibbons  wrote : 

"It  has  been  said  again  and  again  that  Benedict  XV 
has  forgotten  Belgium,  that  he  did  not  speak  up  for  her 
in  her  hour  of  betrayal  by  the  superior  forces  of  her 
invaders.  When  Benedict  XV  came  to  the  throne  Bel- 
gium had  already  been  invaded  by  the  German  armies 
and  a  considerable  part  of  her  territory  overrun.  The 
flagrant  injustice  had  already  been  committed. 

"When  the  invasion  took  place  the  saintly  Pius  was 
already  in  the  shadow  of  death.  On  coming  to  the  throne 
the  new  Pope  did  not  wait  long  to  let  the  world  know 
of  his  sentiments  with  regard  to  the  violation  of  Belgian 
territory.   He  spoke  at  first  with  prudent  circumspection, 

^  February,  1919. 


for  not  all  the  facts  were  in  his  possession.  But  he  soon 
learned  the  truth  and  acted  conformably  to  it. 

"According  to  the  letter  written  by  the  Papal  Secre- 
tary of  State,  Cardinal  Gasparri,  to  M.  van  der  Heuvel, 
Belgian  minister  to  the  Vatican,  'the  violation  of  the 
neutrality  of  Belgium,  carried  out  by  Germany,  on  the 
admission  of  her  own  chancellor,  contrary  to  interna- 
tional law,  was  one  of  those  injustices  which  the  Holy 
Father  in  his  consistorial  allocution  of  January  22 
strongly  reprobated.' 

"His  Holiness  also  protested  to  Russia  against  the 
violence  to  persons  and  to  conscience  displayed  during 
the  early  occupation  of  East  Prussia  and  Galicia,  and 
against  the  harsh  treatment  of  Monsignor  Szeptycki,  the 
venerable  Archbishop  of  Lemberg.  He  has  labored  for 
the  prisoners  of  war,  for  the  crippled  and  the  blind  of 
the  war's  countless  battlefields.  Not  once  has  he  for- 
gotten that  he  is  the  father  of  the  faithful. 

"His  conduct  toward  the  Italian  government  has  been 
marked  by  such  a  spirit  of  conciliation,  justice  and  abso- 
lute impartiality  that  high  government  officials  have 
praised  him  and  those  under  his  jurisdiction.  The  silly 
and  cowardly  slanders  recently  brought  against  his 
patriotism  by  radicals  are  so  gross  as  not  to  deserve  a 

"The  Holy  Father  has  faced  a  terrible  ordeal.  He  is 
facing  it  still.  On  all  sides  he  is  surrounded  by  pitfalls. 
Every  act  of  his  is  watched,  scrutinized,  by  jealous,  criti- 
cal, hostile  eyes,  only  too  ready  to  find  fault  and  to 
register  blame.  More  than  ever  he  needs  the  support  of 
his  loyal  children. 

"The  Roman  Pontiffs  of  the  past  have  ever  found  in 
American  Catholics  a  whole  hearted  devotion.  We  are 
not  going  to  fail  our  Holy  Father,  Pope  Benedict  XV,  in 
this  supreme  hour.  For  all  that  he  has  done  so  nobly 
and  so  unselfishly  for  the  cause  of  peace  and  humanity 


his  faithful  children  here  in  the  United  States,  for  whose 
people  he  has  more  than  once  expressed  his  admiration 
and  love,  are  profoundly  grateful. 

"Though  at  war  in  order  that  all  the  peoples  of  the 
earth  may  be  really  free,  we  wish  with  him  that  a  just 
peace  may  soon  be  gained.  For  that  peace  he  has  nobly 
and  generously  striven.  Men  may  not  now  realize  the 
extent  and  the  nobility  of  his  efforts,  but  when  the  voices 
of  passion  are  stilled  history  will  do  him  justice. 

"As  a  last  word  I  beg  to  congratulate  my  countrymen 
on  the  generous  ardor  with  which  they  have  rallied  to 
the  support  of  our  beloved  President  in  his  dark  hour  of 
trial.  He  has  striven  for  high  ideals  and  has  found  a 
reward  in  an  enthusiastic  response  from  his  fellow  citi- 
zens. They  have  not  failed  him  and  will  not  do  so  in 
the  future,  but  will  continue  to  give  him  and  his  col- 
leagues that  loyal  support  which  is  an  earnest  of  com- 
plete victory  and  of  a  return  of  the  happy  peace  for  which 
he  and  the  Holy  Father  are  laboring  each  in  his  own 

Benedict  XV  pronounced  Gibbons'  defense  to  be  the 
best  exposition  that  had  been  given  of  his  difficult  posi- 
tion. So  much  impressed  was  he  with  the  article  that  he 
ordered  it  printed  in  many  languages  and  distributed.  It 
was  a  forecast  of  the  vindication  that  came  to  Benedict 
after  the  fiercest  passions  of  the  war  had  cooled. 

In  the  campaigns  to  obtain  subscriptions  to  the  Liberty 
Loans,  Gibbons'  help  to  the  government  was  invaluable. 
He  himself  declared  that  he  had  invested  in  these  loans 
"every  cent  at  my  command."  All  funds  entrusted  to 
him  for  general  uses  were,  so  far  as  it  was  proper  to  do 
so,  invested  in  the  same  way.  In  a  public  appeal  which 
he  issued  in  behalf  of  the  third  Liberty  loan,  he  implored 


Catholics  to  "come  to  the  front  now  and  give,  give  and 
give,  until  there  is  little  left  in  the  purse." 

For  an  army  and  navy  edition  of  the  New  Testament, 
issued  under  the  patronage  of  the  Hierarchy  for  distribu- 
tion to  the  armed  forces  of  the  nation,  he  wrote  a  preface 
from  which  the  following  is  an  extract : 

"Called  by  the  President,  as  the  Commander-in-Chief 
of  the  forces  of  the  nation,  to  the  service  of  your  country, 
love  for  its  soil  and  its  people  must  necessarily  be  the 
mainspring  of  all  your  military  activities.  In  these  re- 
spects, Christ,  our  Lord,  is  your  example.  He  loved  His 
native  land,  for  He  sanctified  it  by  His  presence;  He  con- 
secrated it  in  His  precious  blood,  and  He  illuminated  it 
by  the  glory  of  His  resurrection.  He  loved  his  people. 
.  .  .  As  the  sorrow  and  suffering  of  Good  Friday  were 
followed  by  the  joy  and  triumph  of  Easter  morning,  may 
you  who  now  'sow  in  tears'  later  'reap  in  joy.'  " 

In  the  same  preface  he  exhorted  obedience  to  superiors 
and  fortitude  in  meeting  the  duties  and  dangers  of  war. 

He  cheered  the  "war  mothers"  in  a  letter  read  at  a 
mothers'  mass  meeting  in  Baltimore  (May  ii,  1918)  in 
which  he  wrote : 

"Every  day  news  comes  to  us  of  our  boys,  both  at 
home  and  abroad,  freely  giving  themselves  to  the  cause 
of  liberty  and  justice,  determined  to  endure  all  things 
— yea,  if  need  be  to  die  in  defence  of  what  they 
deem  holy  and  right.  But  what  of  the  mothers  of  these 
boys'?  It  will  not  be  disputed  that  their  self-sacrifice  is 
the  harder,  their  offering  the  more  noble.  Like  that  other 
mother  who  stood  on  Calvary  and  saw  her  Son  die  that 
men  might  live,  the  mothers  whom  you  honor  today  suf- 
fer quietly,  patiently  and  willingly.  .  .  .  May  God  bless 


these  mothers  and  give  strength  and  courage  to  their 

President  Wilson  having  proclaimed  Memorial  Day, 
May  30,  1918,  a  day  of  public  humiliation,  prayer  and 
fasting  "beseeching  Him  that  He  will  give  victory  to  our 
armies  in  the  fight  for  freedom,"  Gibbons  sent  to  every 
Catholic  pastor  in  his  diocese  a  letter  ordering  services 
to  be  held  in  accordance  with  the  proclamation,  and  en- 
closing a  copy  of  it.  In  this  letter  he  directed  the  priests 
"to  have  a  Mass  celebrated  on  May  30th  to  place  before 
God  those  lofty  Christian  prayers  of  sorrow  for  our  fail- 
ings, and  petitions  for  our  pressing  needs,  so  admirably 
voiced  in  the  recent  proclamation  of  our  President." 

The  degree  of  support  which  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
Americans  of  foreign  birth  gave  to  the  country  in  its  time 
of  supreme  trial  greatly  heartened  Gibbons,  as  well  it 
might,  for  no  one  had  been  more  instrumental  than  he 
in  making  that  condition  possible  by  his  struggle  against 
the  introduction  of  foreign  influences  in  the  Catholic 
Church  in  the  United  States.  In  July,  1918,  he  publicly 
expressed  his  satisfaction  at  the  demonstration  of  loyalty 
by  all  elements  of  the  population,  and  urged  that  the 
use  of  the  English  language  be  made  obligatory  in  schools, 
because  "language  is  the  great  assimilator."    He  added: 

"Teach  the  children  of  our  foreign  born  the  English 
language  in  our  schools,  and  they  will  absorb  the  prin- 
ciples and  traditions  of  our  race." 

In  the  tense  days  during  which  the  American  armies 
were  driving  forward  along  the  Marne  and  the  Meuse  in 
the  final  struggle  of  the  war,  he  continued  to  take  advan- 


tage  of  every  opportunity  to  hold  up  the  hands  of  the 
government  in  the  manifold  activities  to  which  its  great 
efforts  had  given  rise. 

On  the  day  before  the  armistice  was  signed,  when  it 
was  evident  that  the  allied  armies  had  conquered,  he 
preached  to  soldiers  at  Camp  Meade,  Maryland,  calling 
upon  them  to  thank  God  for  the  victory.  He  saw  the 
fulfilment  of  his  trust  in  the  spirit  with  which  his  coun- 
try had  embarked  in  the  struggle,  saying : 

"We  have  conquered  because  we  believe  that  righteous- 
ness exalteth  a  nation.  We  have  conquered  because  we 
believe  in  justice  and  humanity.  We  have  conquered 
because  we  have  fought  for  the  eternal  principles  of 
truth  and  because  we  realize  that  our  hope  and  our  de- 
pendence, our  trust  and  our  success,  repose  in  Him  who 
is  alike  the  God  of  battles  and  of  justice." 


Throughout  the  war  Gibbons  had  been  guided  by  the 
promise  made  by  the  Hierarchy  soon  after  America  en- 
tered the  conflict.  With  the  coming  of  peace  he  felt  that 
the  promise  had  been  fulfilled.     He  wrote: 

"That  promise  meant  the  consecration  in  patriotic 
service  not  only  of  our  priests  and  of  our  religious,  but 
also  of  our  laymen  and  laywomen ;  it  meant  not  only  one 
organization,  but  every  organization ;  not  only  one  source 
of  support  within  the  command  of  the  body  Catholic  but 
chaplains  in  the  service;  men  in  the  army  and  navy, 
trained  Catholic  men  and  women  who  would  devote  them- 
selves to  all  the  men  of  the  service;  the  support  of  gov- 
errunent  appeals  by  our  Catholic  parishes ;  the  erection  of 
the  huts  and  visitors'  houses  within  the  camps  here;  of 
service  clubs  in  the  cities ;  of  welfare  work  both  at  home 
and  abroad.  .  .  .  The  National  Catholic  War  Council 
united  in  patriotic  effort  all  Catholic  organizations.  .  .  . 
It  has  brought  into  national  expression  the  Catholic  prin- 
ciples of  justice  and  of  fraternal  service  that  bespeak  the 
continued  prosperity  and  happiness  of  America  as  a 
nation."  ^ 

During  the  period  that  ushered  in  the  Paris  peace  con- 
ference, he  cherished  hopes  of  a  blending  of  Benedict 
XV's  Christian  efforts  for  a  permanent  pacification  of 

*  Preface  by  Cardinal  Gibbons  to  Michael  Williams'  American  Catho- 
lics   in    the    JVar. 



the  world  and  the  idealism  with  which  President  Wilson 
invested  the  preliminary  discussion  of  terms.  He  was  in 
correspondence  with  Mr.  Wilson  and,  when  the  President 
went  abroad  for  the  conference,  with  the  intention  also 
of  visiting  the  principal  Allied  countries,  he  wrote  urging 
that  a  visit  to  the  Pope  be  included.    The  letter  was : 

"November  27,  1918. 
*'To  the  President  of  the  United  States. 
"My  dear  Mr.  President: 

"I  thank  you  very  much  ior  your  courteous  reply  to  my 
last  letter.  I  have  taken  the  liberty  of  transmitting  your 
letter  to  the  Holy  Father,  as  I  know  it  will  be  a  consola- 
tion to  His  Holiness. 

"The  Holy  Father  has,  both  in  letters  and  in  private 
conversation,  so  often  expressed  his  great  admiration  for 
and  confidence  in  you,  that  I  have  taken  it  upon  myself  to 
do  also  what  has  long  been  in  my  mind,  which  is  to  make 
the  following  request  of  you:  I  know  that  it  will  give 
the  Holy  Father  increased  confidence  and  courage  to 
know  that  you  are  going  to  be  present  at  the  Peace  Con- 
ference, for,  as  you  will  remember,  in  the  last  message 
that  I  had  the  honor  to  convey  from  His  Holiness  to 
yourself,  the  Holy  Father  expressed  to  you  his  conviction 
that  all  humanity  trusted  to  your  ability  and  impartial- 
ity. I  have  since  learned  that  while  you  are  abroad  you 
will  visit  Italy  and  I  take  for  granted  that  you  will  go  to 
Rome,  and  this  brings  me  to  the  point  of  my  request : 

"My  dear  Mr.  President,  as  an  American  as  well  as  a 
Catholic,  as  one  who  is  bound  to  you  by  the  bonds  of 
patriotism  as  I  am  bound  to  the  Holy  Father  in  the  bonds 
of  religion,  I  ask  you  in  the  strongest  and  most  affection- 
ate manner  of  which  I  am  capable  not  to  leave  Rome 
without  paying  a  personal  visit  to  the  Pope.  I  ask  you 
to  do  this  not  only  because  it  will  be  a  great  consolation 


to  the  Holy  Father,  who  so  admires  and  trusts  you,  not 
only  because  it  will  bind  the  hearts  of  Catholics  to  you 
forever,  but  because  it  will  delight  the  hearts  of  all  good 
men,  who  whether  they  agree  with  the  Holy  Father  in 
religion  or  not,  at  least  recognize  him  as  the  representa- 
tive of  the  greatest  moral  authority  left  in  the  world,  and 
because  you,  Mr.  President,  in  the  opinion  of  all  men, 
are  the  one  who  raised  the  late  war  from  the  plane  of 
national  jealousies  into  the  plane  of  idealism  and  made 
it  a  conflict  and  a  struggle  for  justice,  for  righteousness, 
for  liberty  and  for  nothing  else.  I  say,  then,  that  it  will 
give  delight  to  all  men  of  good  will  to  know  that  you 
have  not  disregarded  or  slighted  the  representative  of  the 
moral  order. 

"I  feel  sure  that  I  have  only  asked  you  to  do  what  you 
have  already  determined  in  your  heart  to  do,  but  which  I 
felt  it  was  nevertheless  my  duty  to  put  before  you. 

"I  am,  my  dear  Mr.  President,  with  sentiments  of  the 
highest  esteem, 

"Very  sincerely  yours, 

"J.  Card.  Gibbons, 
*' Archbishop  of  Baltimore."' 

President  Wilson  visited  Benedict  XV  on  the  fourth  of 
the  following  January,  when  they  had  a  full  exchange 
of  views  on  the  overwhelming  concerns  of  the  world 
which  engrossed  both  of  them. 

Gibbons  issued  a  fervent  appeal  for  the  Victory  Lib- 
erty Loan  in  April,  1919,  saying: 

"The  Liberty  Loans,  which  came  to  broaden  the  vision, 
were  providential,  A  nation  always  generous,  but  some- 
times thoughtless,  even  in  its  generosity;  a  nation  which 
had  preserved  the  ideals  of  the  fathers  of  the  country, 
but  had  wandered  far  from  their  examples  of  frugality 
and  thrift,  again  expressed  its  patriotism  by  showing,  in 


a  moment,  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  that  citizens  who 
had  never  learned  to  save  for  themselves,  could  save  and 
deny  themselves  for  America.  .  .  . 

"Work  for  the  Victory  Liberty  Loan.  If  this  involves 
sacrifice,  glory  in  the  sacrifice,  with  knowledge  that  char- 
acter is  built  on  sacrifice,  and  by  character  America  shall 
be  made  more  truly  great  with  each  succeeding  year." 

Always  looking  ahead,  Gibbons  turned  at  once  to  the 
problems  of  reconstruction.  He  no  more  lacked  faith  in 
the  successful  working  out  of  those  problems  than  he  had 
lacked  faith  as  to  victory  when  America  entered  the  war. 
In  a  Christmas  message  ^  calling  upon  all  to  rejoice  over 
peace,  he  said  that  he  saw  no  danger  to  the  country  in 
the  period  of  reconstruction.  He  trusted  the  intelligence 
and  common  sense  of  the  mass  of  the  American  working- 
men,  and  believed  that  the  war  would  leave  no  great 
problem  of  labor.  Neither  did  he  fear  a  Socialist  wave, 
believing  that  the  workers  in  the  United  States  could  not 
be  won  to  that  cause.    He  added : 

"The  only  apprehension  I  might  have  would  be  with 
regard  to  the  consolidation  of  control  of  the  great  public 
interests  of  the  country  in  the  authorities  of  the  govern- 
ment itself." 

This  was  an  allusion  to  the  railroads,  telegraph  lines 
and  other  public  utilities  which  had  been  taken  over  by 
the  government  for  the  purpose  of  more  effective  prosecu- 
tion of  the  war  and  which  were  subsequently  returned  to 
their  private  owners,  as  Gibbons  had  hoped. 

He  favored  a  firm  policy  toward  Communists  and 
other  extreme  radicals  who  became  active  in  the  United 



States  soon  after  the  conclusion  of  the  war,  in  sympathy 
with  the  Bolsheviki  of  Russia.  On  December  29,  1919, 
he  said : 

"If  the  members  of  the  Red  organization  do  not  like 
this  country,  let  them  go  home.  If  they  do  not  go,  then 
we  will  have  to  send  them  there.  They  came  here  to 
become  future  citizens,  not  to  be  dictators.  We  cannot 
let  them  become  dictators. 

"The  foreigners  who  come  to  our  shores  have  every 
opportunity  to  earn  an  honest  living.  Their  environ- 
ments here  are  much  better  than  they  had  at  home,  and 
the  authorities  give  them  every  assistance  possible  to 
make  them  useful  citizens  of  this  grand  country. 

"The  laws  here  are  not  as  hard  to  obey  as  those  with 
which  they  had  to  contend  in  their  former  countries,  but 
the  foreigners  must  remember  that  the  laws  of  this  coun- 
try must  be  obeyed  by  them,  the  same  as  our  own  people 
must  obey  them.  They  cannot  tell  the  authorities  here 
how  to  run  the  country." 

In  a  New  Year  message  to  the  public,  which  he  was 
asked  to  give  at  the  opening  of  1920,  he  emphasized  the 
same  thoughts,  saying: 

"All  are  now  faced  with  the  important  mission  to  de- 
nounce and  discountenance  the  Bolsheviki  and  radicals, 
whose  aim  is  to  undermine  the  principles  of  our  insti- 
tutions and  to  substitute  anarchy  for  law." 

When  Cardinal  Mercier  came  on  a  mission  to  extend 
the  thanks  of  Belgians  for  the  help  which  they  had  re- 
ceived from  Americans  in  their  hour  of  bitter  trial,  he 
was  the  guest  of  Gibbons  in  Baltimore,  where  those  two 
giants  of  the  Catholic  faith  exchanged  felicitations  upon 




i^  ..^                          /^":Av^ 

w^-  • 



4^     ** 

:^*,.      1 



■^ '  xi 

I   j^_  . 

.     ',     _ ,  V  .1 ..;'  - 


In  the  (jarden  of  the  residence  of  T.  Herbert  Shrirer,  Union  Mills,  Md. 


the  happy  outcome.  The  Belgian  Cardinal  expressed  his 
deep  gratitude  at  a  meeting  held  in  that  city,  at  which 
he  was  presented  to  the  audience  by  Gibbons  as  "an 
ardent  patriot  and  fearless  champion,  who  vindicated  and 
upheld  the  honor,  sovereignty  and  independence  of  his 
country  at  the  risk  of  death  itself." 

Later,  when  King  Albert  visited  the  United  States, 
Gibbons  was  his  guest  at  an  official  dinner  in  Washing- 
ton. The  Catholic  University  conferred  a  degree  upon 
the  king  and  Gibbons  presided  at  the  ceremony,  which 
was  attended  by  the  elite  of  Washington.  On  the  same 
day  he  presided  at  the  conferring  of  an  honorary  degree 
by  Trinity  College  upon  the  Belgian  Queen  Elizabeth. 

While  the  war  was  in  progress  he  had  set  on  foot  a 
collection  among  the  Catholic  parishes  of  the  country  in 
favor  of  the  Catholic  universities  of  Louvain  and  Lille, 
sorely  tried  by  the  strife.  The  amount  obtained  was 
about  $100,000  and  was  evenly  divided  between  those  in- 

While  Gibbons  did  not  doubt  that  the  problems  of 
reconstruction  would  be  solved  without  grave  danger  to 
American  institutions,  he  emphasized  that  the  help  of  all 
was  needed  for  that  purpose.  The  National  Catholic 
War  Council,  when  the  conflict  had  ended,  turned  its 
attention  as  soon  as  possible  to  reconstruction  plans  and 
in  time  was  transformed  into  the  National  Catholic  Wel- 
fare Council  for  dealing  with  the  problems  of  peace. 

At  a  meeting  at  the  Catholic  University  in  September, 
1919,  presided  over  by  Gibbons,  the  Hierarchy  adopted  a 
pastoral  letter,  the  first  since  the  Third  Plenary  Council 
in  1884,  which  was  sent  out  over  his  signature  and  read 


from  every  Catholic  pulpit  in  America.     The  letter  set 
forth  : 

"We  entered  the  war  with  the  highest  of  objects,  pro- 
claiming at  every  step  that  we  battled  for  the  right,  and 
pointing  to  our  country  as  a  model  for  the  world's  imita- 
tion. We  accepted  therewith  the  responsibility  of  leader- 
ship in  accomplishing  the  task  that  lies  before  mankind. 
The  world  awaits  our  fulfillment." 

As  to  reconstruction,  the  letter  declared  that  it  would 
be  an  error  to  assume  that  the  issues  involved  were  purely 
economic,  as  they  were  at  bottom  moral  and  religious. 
It  was  urged  that  factions  and  elements  should  not  fail  to 
realize  that  the  people  as  a  whole  had  a  prior  claim  to 
consideration.  The  supposition  so  much  encouraged  by 
radicals  that  class  was  naturally  hostile  to  class  was 
combated  as  a  grave  error.  Not  only  were  the  obliga- 
tions of  capital  and  labor  mutual,  but  their  needs  and  in- 
terests were  mutual  also.  The  moral  value  of  man  and 
the  dignity  of  labor  were  emphasized.  The  letter  pro- 
ceeded : 

"The  right  of  labor  to  a  living  wage,  with  decent  main- 
tenance for  the  present  and  provision  for  the  future,  is 
generally  recognized.  The  right  of  capital  to  a  fair  day's 
work  for  a  fair  day's  pay  is  equally  plain.  To  secure 
the  practical  recognition  and  exercise  of  both  rights,  good 
will,  no  less  than  adherence  to  justice,  is  required.  Ani- 
mosity and  mistrust  should  first  be  cleared  away.  When 
this  is  done,  when  the  parties  meet  in  a  friendly  rather 
than  a  militant  spirit,  it  will  be  possible  to  effect  a  concil- 

"We  are  confident  that  the  good  sense  of  our  people 
will  find  a  way  out  of  the  present  situation.    As  the  con- 


fusion  occasioned  by  war  subsides,  calmer  judgment  will 
prevail.  Men  will  see  that  internal  peace  and  the  co- 
operation of  all  classes  must  be  secured  if  our  country  is 
to  enjoy  prosperity  at  home  and  respect  abroad.  Ameri- 
ca's great  opportunity  must  not  be  sacrificed  to  selfish 
aims  or  partisan  interests.  We  made  war  upon  greed  and 
selfish  ambition.  We  shall  not  let  them  triumph  within 
our  own  borders. 

"Catholics  will  do  their  full  share  toward  the  com- 
plete restoration  of  peace.  With  one  mind  and  heart  they 
will  labor  for  our  country's  advantage.  As  their  patriotic 
efforts  were  united  to  such  good  effect  through  the  Na- 
tional Catholic  War  Council,  we  have  determined,  for  the 
ends  of  peace,  to  maintain  the  spirit  of  union  and  co- 
ordination through  the  National  Catholic  Welfare  Coun- 
cil. Under  its  direction  our  needs  and  problems  in  the 
several  fields  of  education  and  social  reform  will  be  care- 
fully studied.  Means  will  be  taken  to  secure  and  publish 
correct  information  on  all  matters  affecting  the  Church 
and  Catholic  life.  The  work  of  our  organizations  will  be 
developed  and  directed  toward  the  fuller  attainment  of 
Catholic  aims." 

In  his  New  Year  sermon  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral, 
January  3,  1920,  Gibbons  compared  America's  aid  to 
Europe  during  and  after  the  war  with  the  deed  of  the 
Good  Samaritan.     He  said: 

"Has  not  America  played  the  part  of  the  Good  Samari- 
tan during  the  late  world  war^  Have  not  the  American 
people  been  Good  Samaritans  to  prostrate  and  bleeding 
Europe?  Has  America  not  aided  those  who  were  largely 
of  a  different  race,  language  and  religion *? 

"America  has  poured  her  treasure  in  abundance  into 
the  lap  of  Europe.  She  sent  cargoes  of  provisions  to  the 
starving  people.    At  this  very  moment,  according  to  infor- 


mation  furnished  me  by  Mr.  Hoover,  America  is  daily 
supplying  one  or  two  meals  to  more  than  3,000,000 
children  in  Austria,  Hungary,  Czecho-Slovakia  and 

"She  has  sacrificed  her  sons  on  the  altar  of  patriotism 
that  they  might  free  them  from  the  yoke  of  bondage. 

"All  this  she  has  done  without  demanding  or  expecting 
compensation.  She  has  not  asked  for  a  dollar  of  money 
or  an  inch  of  territory  or  an  ounce  of  provisions  for  all 
her  outlay.  The  only  remuneration  she  has  is  the  testi- 
mony of  a  good  conscience  and  the  sense  of  complacency 
in  the  example  of  disinterested  patriotism  which  she  has 
exhibited  to  the  nations  of  the  world." 

Gibbons  added  that  "the  brightest  page"  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  war  to  be  chronicled  by  historians  would  be 
the  record  of  "the  part  which  America  performed  in  the 
triumph  of  justice  and  humanity  and  her  successive  efforts 
that  liberty  should  not  perish  from  the  earth." 

He  lent  the  weight  of  his  influence  to  the  appeals  that 
were  made  in  behalf  of  different  classes  of  war  sufferers. 
In  a  message  to  one  of  the  officials  of  the  Near  East 
Relief,  he  said: 

"The  appalling  tales  of  massacre  and  famine  (in  that 
region)  appeal  to  humanity,  and  so  I  cannot  urge  too 
strongly  the  duty  of  immediate  relief.  It  is  a  duty  that 
rests  upon  every  Christian  people,  and  our  country  cannot 
fail  to  recognize  and  heed  it." 

He  urged  fervently  the  giving  of  assistance  to  those  in 
Poland  who  had  been  reduced  to  want  by  the  conflict. 
The  peace-time  program  of  the  American  Red  Cross  was 
warmly  supported  by  him.      He  declared  that  it  was 


"perhaps  less  dramatic  than  that  of  war-time,  but  none 
the  less  glorious  in  its  spirit  and  object." 

Pope  Benedict  transmitted  a  special  letter  ^  to  Mr. 
Hoover,  through  Cardinal  Gibbons,  giving  his  endorse- 
ment to  the  European  Relief  Council,  which  collected  a 
large  fund  in  the  United  States  for  helping  starving  and 
sick  children  in  Europe. 

In  October,  1920,  Gibbons  declared  his  support  of  the 
League  of  Nations,  holding  that  its  principles  were  in 
accord  with  the  encyclical  of  Benedict  XV  urging  "that 
all  States,  putting  aside  mutual  suspicions,  should  unite 
in  one  league,  or  rather  in  the  family  of  the  peoples,  cal- 
culated both  to  maintain  their  own  independence  and 
safeguard  the  order  of  human  society."  He  expressed 
his  views  in  a  statement  which  was  widely  circulated,  of 
which  the  following  are  extracts: 

"What  I  most  like  and  highly  value  about  the  proposed 
League  is  first  the  delay  which  it  imposes  upon  any  and 
all  nations — you  must  not  rush  headlong  into  this  thing 
in  which  we  all  run  the  danger  of  being  involved.  We 
say  you  must  be  frank,  open  and  above  board,  you  must 
place  your  plans  before  the  world,  and  they  must  and 
shall  be  carefully  weighed.  In  my  judgment,  this  single 
new  world  regulation  will  reduce  wars  to  a  minimum. 
Second  thought  and  careful  consideration  of  steps  to  be 
undertaken  is  imposed,  and  on  second  sober  thought,  few 
will  draw  the  sword. 

"And  then  I  like  and  value  that  phrase  and  declara- 
tion, that  it  is  the  friendly  right  of  each  member  of  the 
League  to  bring  to  the  attention  of  the  Assembly  or  of  the 
Council  any  circumstances  whatever  affecting  interna- 
tional relations  which  threaten  to  disturb  international 

'December,  1920. 


peace  or  good  understanding  between  nations  upon  which 
peace  depends. 

"It  shall  be  the  'friendly  right' — I  like  that  immensely. 
In  the  next  decade — better  in  the  next  ten  months — I 
hope  it  will  become  the  friendly  right  and  the  inevitable 
duty  for  all  nations  to  combine  for  the  preservation  of 
peace.  How  often  would  wars  have  been  avoided  if  in 
the  past  we  had  acted  in  this  way  and  under  these  pre- 
scriptions !  How  often  it  has  been  our  thought  to  speak 
to  a  sister  nation  asking  that  conditions  which  are  fraught 
with  danger  to  the  peace  of  the  world  and  which  threaten 
our  brotherhood  should  be  removed  and  we  have  desisted 
because,  in  diplomatic  language,  that  would  have  been  an 
unfriendly  act! 

"I  like  the  plan  for  delay.  I  like  the  solemn  agree- 
ment for  the  prevention  of  international  war  which  the 
covenant  stands  for  and  for  which  His  Holiness,  the 
Pope,  expresses  his  warm  approval.  So  with  the  great 
disaster  behind  us,  although  we  still  sit  in  its  dark 
shadow,  we  should  be,  and  I  believe  we  are,  determined 
to  safeguard  the  order  of  human  society  which  is  in 
danger,  to  maintain  the  independence  of  the  peoples 
within  their  just  borders,  and  to  reduce,  if  we  cannot 
wholly  abolish,  the  burden  of  military  expenditure. 

"Sitting  as  a  council  of  brethren,  with  the  shadow 
of  the  great  catastrophe  still  upon  us,  we  should,  and  I 
have  no  doubt  we  will,  draw  nearer  to  one  another  and 
take  up,  in  a  fraternal  spirit,  seriatim,  those  vexed  ques- 
tions that  still  remain  and  which  are  a  grave  menace  to 
the  fellowship  of  the  forward  looking,  God  fearing,  God 
loving  nations.  These  questions  still  threaten  the  peace 
of  the  world — that  peace  whose  blessings  we  are  just 
beginning  to  enjoy  again.  The  world  is  very  anxious, 
very  weary." 

His  confidence  in  the  stability  of  America  found  new 


expression  October  29  of  the  same  year,  in  a  sermon  de- 
livered at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  a  few  days  before 
the  presidential  election.  Taking  for  his  text  "Righteous- 
ness Exalteth  a  Nation,"  he  said: 

"There  are  some  despondent,  illboding  prophets  who 
are  in  the  habit  of  predicting  the  overthrow  of  our  coun- 
try. They  tell  us  that  the  only  way  to  avert  this  dire 
catastrophe  would  be  the  election  of  their  favorite  can- 
didate. These  prophecies  are  made  most  frequently  on 
the  eve  of  a  presidential  election,  like  the  present  mo- 
ment. I  have  been  listening  to  these  forebodings  for  the 
past  sixty  years. 

"But  in  every  instance,  so  far,  the  American  people 
wake  up  in  the  morning  after  the  election  to  discover  that 
they  were  disquieted  by  false  alarms  and  that  the  peo- 
ple were  attending  to  their  affairs  and  the  Government 
was  transacting  its  business  as  tranquilly  as  if  no  elec- 
tion had  taken  place. 

"From  the  foundation  of  our  republic  over  a  century 
and  a  quarter  ago,  our  Federal  Union  has  passed  through 
a  series  of  ordeals  and  upheavals  which  were  well  calcu- 
lated to  test  the  strength  and  endurance  of  any  nation  in 
the  world. 

"If  I  were  asked  on  what  grounds  do  I  base  my  hopes 
that  our  system  of  government  will  endure,  I  answer  that 
I  rest  my  hopes  on  the  enlightenment  and  patriotism  of 
our  citizens,  the  foreign  born  as  well  as  the  natives,  for 
many  of  our  adopted  citizens  who  have  groaned  abroad 
under  the  heel  of  autocratic  despotism  appreciate  all  the 
more  the  blessings  of  constitutional  freedom  v/hich  they 
here  enjoy  and  will  never  surrender  these  blessings  with- 
out a  struggle.  I  place  my  hopes  in  the  wisdom  of  our 
statesmen  and  in  the  valor  of  our  soldiers.  And  surely 
we  have  strong  grounds  for  our  reliance  on  the  military 


prowess  of  our  army  and  navy  from  the  records  of  the 
late  war. 

"If  the  American  Republic  will  survive,  it  must  rest 
upon  a  stronger  foundation  than  the  patriotism  of  its 
citizens  and  the  wisdom  of  its  statesmen  and  the  valor  of 
its  soldiers.  It  must  rely  upon  a  more  impregnable  force 
than  standing  armies  and  dreadnoughts.  The  race  is 
not  to  the  swift  nor  the  battle  to  the  strong.  If  our  re- 
public is  to  endure  it  must  rest  upon  the  eternal  principles 
of  justice,  truth  and  righteousness  and  downright  hon- 
esty in  our  dealings  with  other  nations.  It  must  rest  on  a 
devout  recognition  of  an  overruling  Providence  that  has 
created  all  things  by  His  wisdom,  whose  searching  eye 
watches  over  the  affairs  of  nations  and  of  men,  without 
whom  not  even  a  bird  can  fall  to  the  ground." 


It  is  Sunday  morning.  Every  seat  in  the  pews  of  the 
Baltimore  Cathedral  is  filled.  In  the  unusually  wide 
aisles,  characteristic  of  Cathedrals,  almost  as  many  more 
are  standing.  To  be  present  is  a  coveted  privilege.  Per- 
haps one  half,  certainly  one  quarter,  of  the  crowd  are 
non-Catholics.  It  is  difficult  to  detect  who  are  Catholics 
and  who  are  not.  All  seem  to  be  equally  attentive  and 
reverent.  It  is  the  atmosphere  of  an  assemblage  unique 
in  America,  perhaps  anywhere  in  the  world. 

At  one  side  of  the  sanctuary,  upon  his  episcopal  throne, 
sits  a  slender  man  whose  countenance  denotes  a  combina- 
tion of  benignity  and  strength.  The  impression  of  him 
grows  on  the  observer.  He  wears  the  blood-red  robe  of  a 
Cardinal.  Eyes  are  centered  upon  him.  His  expression 
is  serene.  His  movements  are  graceful.  When  he  walks 
he  seems  to  glide,  almost  as  if  he  were  flying. 

It  is  not  alone  that  he  is  a  Cardinal  which  causes  the 
congregation  to  rivet  its  attention  upon  him  in  the  in- 
tervals of  the  service.  An  indefinable  influence,  seem- 
ingly of  what  has  been  called  personal  magnetism,  pro- 
ceeds from  him.  Every  motion  that  he  makes  is  watched 
with  intense,  fascinated  interest.  His  devotional  spirit 
spreads  to  others.     Without  speaking  a  word  to  them 

directly,  he  is  master  of  them. 



Now  the  time  for  the  sermon  arrives.  Gibbons — for 
it  is  he — rises.  With  the  gliding  motion  of  which  his 
easy  movements  give  the  appearance,  he  proceeds  to  the 
pulpit  and  ascends  the  steps  slowly.  For  the  first  time, 
the  many  strangers  in  the  congregation  have  a  full  view 
of  him.  His  face  appears  to  be  very  pale  in  contrast 
to  his  red  robe.  It  is  a  face  worthy  of  study  under  any 
conditions.  The  features  are  clear-cut,  almost  as  if 
shaped  by  a  sculptor  seeking  precision  of  outline.  They 
express  keenness,  intensity,  force,  and  yet  the  overpower- 
ing impression  they  convey  is  of  saintliness. 

The  countenance  seems  all  alight.  The  gaze  from  the 
blue  eyes  is  powerful.  It  appeals  and  commands  at  the 
same  time.  The  lithe  body  is  so  vibrant  with  a  mysteri- 
ous power  that  it  almost  seems  poised  for  a  spring. 
Withal  there  is  a  background  of  calmness  and  self-pos- 
session and  of  a  simplicity  of  soul  which  utters  an  invo- 
cation before  the  lips  move. 

There  is  a  momentary  pause.  The  stillness  has  an 
element  of  suspense.  Now,  from  the  dominant  figure 
proceeds  a  voice  as  remarkable  as  the  man.  It  is  strong, 
high  pitched,  yet  with  the  sweetness  of  a  perfectly  toned 
bell.  In  its  general  characteristics  it  is  musical  and  pene- 
trating. Every  word — even  every  syllable — pierces  the 
atmosphere  with  singular  clearness  of  enunciation.  The 
words  are  simple.  They  are  designed  to  convey  a  message 
which  shall  reach  all  and  help  all.  The  sentences,  like  the 
words,  are  short  and  knit  easily  together.  The  unlearned, 
even  children,  understand.  The  language  and  the  elocu- 
tion blend  to  produce  clearness  as  of  a  mountain  brook. 

As  the  sermon  proceeds,  the  voice  gathers  force  but 


never  rises  in  cadences  of  the  artificial  devices  of  oratory. 
The  man  has  something  to  say.  He  has  thoughts  and  he 
wishes  those  thoughts  to  reach  others  without  loss  in 
transmission.  There  are  few  gestures — perhaps  none. 
The  mobile  and  powerful-countenance,  upon  which  every 
eye  is  fixed,  supplies  modulation  and  emphasis  better  than 
any  gestures. 

But  there  is  a  force  greater  than  the  words,  upon 
which  the  preacher  does  not  count,  of  which  probably 
he  is  not  aware — certainly  not  fully  aware.  It  is  his 
ever-present  personality.  People  seem  to  be  gripped 
by  something  psychic.  They  are  under  a  spell — the  spell 
of  a  presence — with  which  no  exalted  office  could  invest 
any  man.  Even  if  he  should  utter  the  commonplace,  it 
would  produce  a  profound  impression. 

There  is  little  theology  in  what  he  says.  Such  phi- 
losophy as  he  expounds  is  not  that  of  the  schoolmen.  He 
avoids  abstruse  processes  of  logic.  There  is  an  evident 
design  to  shun  any  display  of  learning.  The  whole  efltect 
is  of  simplicity  in  which  there  is  immense  strength.  He 
believes  that  there  is  more  religion  in  lifting  a  burden 
from  another's  back  than  in  exploring  some  new  recess 
of  theological  thought. 

The  hearer  accepts  the  appeal  as  personal  to  himself. 
It  is  thus  framed,  thus  delivered.  The  preacher  at  times 
seems  to  be  speaking  to  the  congregation  as  if  they  were 
his  intimates.  He  reasons  with  them,  allows  for  their 
own  mental  processes,  and  supplements  them  with  his 
own.  The  effect  is  that  of  inviting  the  assent  of  indi- 
viduals to  direct  arguments  gauged  according  to  their 
understanding.     He  has  a  habit  of  conceding  points 


which  can  be  urged  against  any  position  which  he  takes. 
At  times  he  will  remark:  "I  grant  you  that  this  is  true," 
or  "I  do  not  deny  that  it  is  true."  A  close  and  dis- 
criminating observer  might  remark  that  Gibbons  stood 
upon  a  plane  of  Christian  humility  not  above  that  of 
the  humblest  man  in  the  audience;  others,  less  disposed 
to  analyze  the  impressions  of  the  moment,  would  say 
that  he  had  a  marvelous  facility  of  reaching  directly  into 
the  consciences  and  hearts  of  those  who  listened. 

There  is  no  reference  to  manuscript,  though  it  is  the 
Cardinal's  custom  to  prepare  his  sermons  in  his  own  hand- 
writing. So  tenacious  is  his  memory  that  one  or  two  re- 
readings  of  a  sermon  are  sufficient  to  implant  its  phrase- 
ology in  his  mind  for  the  time  being.  Now  and  then 
there  is  a  slight  departure  from  the  original  language,  but 
it  is  a  departure  in  words,  not  meaning,  and  is  often 
intentional,  based  upon  impressions  derived  from  the 
congregation.  If  the  circumstances  have  imposed  especial 
care  in  memorizing  the  sermon,  the  words  may  flow  with 
virtually  complete  fidelity  to  the  prepared  discourse. 
The  whole  appearance  to  the  congregation  is  of  spon- 

The  end  of  the  sermon  is  reached.  The  occasional 
hearer  is  surprised,  for  the  Cardinal  seldom  preaches  more 
than  twenty-five  minutes,  believing  that  short  sermons 
are  the  most  effective.  So  potent  has  been  his  influence 
upon  the  crowd  that  some  persons,  standing  or  sitting, 
have  scarcely  moved  a  muscle  since  he  began.  They 
have  followed  every  sentence  with  intensity  of  concen- 
tration. The  simplicity  of  the  thoughts  has  enabled  them 
to  carry  the  thread  of  the  discourse  easily.    Even  a  per- 


son  of  poor  mental  powers  could  repeat  a  large  part  of 
the  sermon  at  once,  if  he  were  called  upon  to  do  so. 
The  message  has  sunk  deep.  It  has  been  a  part  of  the 
personality  of  the  preacher,  and  his  personality  has  been 
a  part  of  it;  and  he  has  given  it  out  to  others. 

The  Catholic  from  another  parish  who  has  listened 
exclaims:  "If  my  priest  could  only  preach  like  that!" 
The  Presbyterian  says:  "If  my  pastor  could  only  preach 
like  that!"  The  Jew  says:  "If  my  rabbi  could  only 
preach  like  that!"  The  composite  impression  is  that  the 
Cardinal  is  the  greatest  preacher  to  whom  the  hearer  has 

Why*?  Perhaps  the  most  prominent  reason  is  because 
he  has  said  something  obviously  needed  as  a  help  in  daily 
life.  He  has  expounded  simple  truths  of  the  Gospel. 
Usually  there  is  nothing  doctrinal  in  the  sermon,  though 
now  and  then,  of  course,  the  Cardinal  takes  a  doctrinal 
theme.  What  he  says  applies  with  equal  force  to  any 
Christian,  indeed,  in  many  cases,  to  any  well  disposed 
man.  He  has  used  no  terms  of  invective.  There  is  no 
uncharity,  no  bitterness.  He  wishes  to  heal  without 
inflicting  pain.  He  illuminates  the  great  truths  of  time 
and  eternity,  answers  doubts,  calms  the  troubled  mind, 
dispenses  sane  counsel.  The  sermon  has  been  practical. 
He  has  set  before  the  hearer  no  exceptionally  difficult 
standard — certainly  not  one  that  is  impossible.  He  has 
expounded  every  side  of  his  subject  so  that  the  impres- 
sion left  is  complete  and  satisfying.  He  has  discarded 
the  technique  of  the  pulpit  that  he  may  put  the  hearer 
at  ease. 

This  is  Gibbons  the  preacher  as  he  was  in  his  splendid 


prime,  that  long  period  between  the  ages  of  forty  and 
seventy  years  during  which  he  preserved  the  fulness  of 
his  powers  as  a  speaker.  After  seventy  there  was  a  les- 
sening in  the  wonderful  carrying  power  of  the  voice 
which,  without  being  raised  in  tone,  had  been  able  to 
penetrate  the  remotest  corners  of  Cathedrals  and  large 
public  halls.  It  was  a  gradual  lessening,  scarcely  per- 
ceptible to  those  accustomed  to  listen  to  him.  There  was 
also  some  diminution  at  times  in  his  vigor  of  verbal 
expression,  but  again  this  was  so  slight  as  to  be  observed 
only  by  persons  who  heard  him  only  seldom.  He  once 

"I  can  always  manage  to  make  my  voice  carry  in- 
doors in  speaking,  although  I  sometimes  have  trouble 
in  the  open  air.  Early  in  life  I  was  forced  to  give  my- 
self a  severe  training  in  elocution.  My  health  was  bad 
and  often  I  did  not  have  the  necessary  strength  to  deliver 
long  discourses.  But  I  found  that  by  training  my  voice 
in  pronouncing  each  word  distinctly,  so  that  one  would 
not  fall  over  another  and  confuse  the  auditor,  I  could 
speak  in  a  natural  tone  and  be  heard  in  a  large  church 
or  hall.  If  my  health  had  been  better,  I  might  not  have 
taken  the  trouble  to  do  this." 

Gibbons'  appearance  on  ecclesiastical  occasions  when 
he  did  not  preach  and  was  able  to  center  fully  upon  his 
devotions  in  church  must  have  caused  many  to  think 
that  here  at  last  was  a  saint  in  real  life.  His  pale, 
spiritual  countenance  seemed  to  show  forth  a  heavenly 
serenity  as  if  illumined  by  an  inner  light.  This  was 
accentuated  by  the  thin,  clasped  hands,  the  bowed  head, 
the  slightly  bent  form  and  the  marvelous  grace  of  poise 
and  carriage.    The  whole  aspect  of  the  figure  was  sweetly 


appealing.  It  was  of  one  come  to  bless,  but  never  to 
condemn.  The  soul  of  the  man,  detached  from  the  stress 
of  the  world,  seemed  to  speak.  Catholics,  Protestants, 
Jews,  men  of  any  faith  and  no  faith,  felt  a  reverence  that 
spread  through  the  congregation  like  a  mysterious  thrill 
which  none  could  escape. 

The  crowds  which  assembled  when  he  preached  in  the 
Cathedral  were  the  wonder  of  Baltimore.  No  such  had 
ever  flocked  to  any  other  church  there,  or  probably  else- 
where in  America.  It  was  easy  to  understand  why,  when 
he  left  his  own  city,  thousands  should  wish  to  hear  him 
because  of  his  distinguished  name,  but  at  home  his  ser- 
mons were  far  from  a  novelty,  because  for  more  than  two 
score  years  he  preached  in  the  Cathedral  once  a  month 
and  any  person  who  wished  to  be  present  could  do  so  if 
he  arrived  in  time  to  enter  the  building  with  the  first  of 
the  crowd. 

The  Cathedral  is  planted  upon  a  broad  hill  surrounded 
by  ample  lawns  and  wide  streets.  On  Sundays  when  Gib- 
bons preached,  the  near-by  streets  were  crowded  as  if  for 
a  mass  meeting  in  the  heat  of  a  political  campaign.  Men, 
women,  and  children  stood  in  long  lines,  seeking  an  op- 
portunity to  enter.  By  Gibbons'  direction  the  doors  were 
thrown  open  to  the  general  public  a  few  minutes  after 
the  service  had  begun.  Pews  then  only  partly  filled  with 
the  families  and  guests  of  their  holders  were  quickly 
crowded  as  the  multitude  flowed  in,  and  the  aisles  were 
packed  to  the  utmost  limit  consistent  with  the  general 
safety.  Outside  the  doors  hundreds,  often  thousands, 
who  were  disappointed,  turned  away,  resolving  to  come 
again  at  an  early  opportunity. 


The  number  of  Protestants  who  were  drawn  to  hear 
him  was  great  at  all  times.  Many  of  them  preferred 
the  pulpit  deliverances  of  Gibbons  to  such  an  extent  that 
they  pasted  copies  of  them  in  scrapbooks  and  retained 
them  for  years  as  a  permanent  guide  in  the  multitude  of 
difficulties  with  which  his  homilies  dealt. 

Protestants  were  sure  that  they  would  not  be  offended 
by  anything  which  he  would  say.  In  his  Discourses  and 
Sermons^  a  volume  of  considerable  size,  published  by  him 
late  in  life,  there  are  fifty-five  titles,  of  which  only  six 
are  doctrinal.  Their  general  tenor  can  be  comprehended 
from  the  following  examples: 

"Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper?" 

"Jesus  Christ  Our  Friend" ; 

"The  Race  for  an  Unfading 'Crown" ; 

"Eternal  Happiness  and  Conditions  for  Attaining  It" ; 

"The  Study  and  Imitation  of  Christ"; 

"Descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost  on  the  Apostles" ; 

"The  Blessings  of  Christian  Faith"; 

"Christ,  the  Only  Enduring  Name  in  History  and  the 
Great  Reformer  of  Society" ; 

"Why  We  Should  Rejoice"; 

"Love  Is  the  Fulfilling  of  the  Law" ; 

"Christian  Manhood" ; 

"Prayer,   Source  of  Light,   Comfort  and  Strength"; 

"This  Man  Receiveth  Sinners" ; 

"A  Personal  Providence"; 

"The  Tribunal  of  Mercy." 

As  to  the  length  of  sermons  he  wrote  in  the  preface 
to  the  volume : 


"The  author  believes  that  their  brevity  will  also  com- 
mend them  to  the  reader ;  for  long  discourses  are  usually 
tedious  and  fatiguing.  They  weigh  heavily  on  the  mind 
as  a  surfeit  of  food  palls  upon  the  appetite;  while  short 
sermons,  like  a  frugal  and  nutritious  meal,  are  easily  di- 
gested and  assimilated." 

Gibbons'  greatest  sermon  was,  of  course,  ''The  Faith 
of  Our  Fathers,''  the  most  popular  and  potent  discourse 
framed  by  any  cleric  of  modern  times,  which  has  had  an 
influence  upon  hundreds  of  thousands  of  lives  in  all 
civilized  countries.  In  that  work,  as  in  almost  every 
sermon  that  he  delivered,  he  was  solicitous  to  avoid 
arguing  over  the  heads  of  those  whom  he  addressed.  He 
was  deeply  versed  in  theology  and  philosophy  and  in  his 
student  days  at  St.  Mary's  Seminary  his  superior  excel- 
lence in  the  latter  branch  of  learning  had  been  a  subject 
of  especial  commendation.  Throughout  his  life  he  kept 
up  with  the  latest  developments  in  these  two  fields,  and 
with  his  rare  mental  equipment  it  was  evident  that  had 
he  wished  to  lean  toward  them  in  his  churchmanship  he 
would  have  ranked  high  in  them. 

Recognizing  both  the  absolute  need  and  the  practical 
value  of  theology  and  philosophy,  he  yet  turned  from 
them  in  his  customary  methods  of  appeal  in  the  pulpit. 
He  believed  that  others  supplied  enough  of  them.  For 
himself,  he  would  reach  down  for  the  simple  things  and 
exhibit  them  for  the  benefit  of  men  who  might  not  be 
able  to  comprehend  anything  else.  His  sermons,  there- 
fore, lacked  that  profundity  of  presentation  which  would 
entitle  them  to  be  rated  highly  as  works  of  theology; 
but  it  is  doubtful  if  the  traveler  through  this  vale  of  tears, 


seeking  direct  comfort  from  a  minister  of  God  in  the 
trials  and  difficulties  which  he  must  inevitably  encounter, 
can  find  in  the  discourses  of  any  other  man  a  more  accept- 
able or  practical  guide  than  in  those  of  Gibbons.  If  it 
be  true  that  he  attained  this  goal,  his  work  was  crowned 
with  all  the  success  that  he  wished  for  it.  It  was  the  one 
end  which  he  sought  consistently.  His  aim  was  to  remove 
the  elementary  obstacles.  He  felt  that  by  this  means 
he  could  reach  masses  immensely  outnumbering  those 
whom  the  refined  and  higher  processes  of  reasoning  might 
win  to  the  fold. 

Gibbons  loved  to  preach.  This  was  not  in  the  sense 
of  deriving  pleasure  from  the  exercise  of  his  powers  as 
an  orator,  but  in  the  sense  of  fulfilling  one  of  his  fore- 
most duties.  During  the  many  years  when  he  was  a 
Cardinal,  he  might  have  found  ample  justification  in  his 
own  mind  for  devoting  his  time  to  the  weighty  affairs  of 
administration  which  pressed  upon  him  and  preaching 
only  at  rare  intervals.  But  amid  all  his  preoccupations 
he  considered  his  duties  as  a  priest  foremost.  He  con- 
tinued to  visit  the  sick,  to  console  the  bereaved,  even  to 
hear  confessions  at  times.  It  was  not  consistent  with  his 
purposes  to  neglect  the  preaching  duty  of  the  priesthood, 
no  matter  how  great  his  elevation  in  the  Hierarchy.  No 
duties  connected  with  service  to  the  Church  appeared  to 
be  uncongenial  to  him;  the  humbler  they  were,  the  hap- 
pier he  seemed  to  be  in  performing  them. 

Some  of  his  pulpit  utterances  related  to  public  topics 
of  a  general  nature;  but  these  were  a  small  fraction  of 
the  whole.  Whenever  he  introduced  them  he  gave  a  re- 
ligious discourse  first,  and  presented  the  correlative  topic 


toward  the  end.  For  instance,  in  a  sermon  upon  "Am  I 
My  Brother's  Keeper"?"  he  concluded  with  a  vigorous 
appeal  against  the  continuation  of  the  sweat  shop  evil  in 
Baltimore,  as  giving  a  practical  aspect  to  his  main  theme. 
Beginning  by  citing  instances  from  the  Bible  of  brotherly 
love  and  charity,  including  the  story  of  the  Good  Samari- 
tan, he  proceeded  to  say  that  his  aim  was  not  to  commend 
charity  only  as  an  abstraction  but,  "to  set  before  you  a 
special  class  of  persons  in  this  city  that  you  may  help  to 
improve  their  condition,  to  redress  their  grievances  and 
enable  them  to  earn  by  their  industry  an  honest  and  com- 
fortable livelihood."  He  dealt  with  current  conditions 
in  sermons  on  topics  such  as  divorce,  Sunday  observance 
and  marriage,  always  on  a  religious  basis.  Of  all  the 
references  to  subjects  of  this  nature  which  he  introduced 
in  his  sermons,  by  far  the  largest  number  were  exhorta- 
tions in  behalf  of  loyalty  to  country. 

On  the  subject  of  discussing  public  questions  in  the 
pulpit,  he  thus  defined  his  views  in  The  Ambassador  of 
Christ:  ^ 

"As  the  minister  of  Christ  is  preeminently  the  friend 
and  father  of  the  people,  he  cannot  be  indifferent  to  any 
of  the  social,  political,  and  economic  questions  affecting 
the  interests  and  happiness  of  the  nation.  The  relations 
of  Church  and  State,  the  duties  and  prerogatives  of  the 
citizen,  the  evils  of  political  corruption  and  usurpation, 
the  purification  of  the  ballot-box,  the  relative  privileges 
and  obligations  of  labor  and  capital,  the  ethics  of  trade 
and  commerce,  the  public  desecration  of  the  Lord's  Day, 
popular  amusements,  temperance,  the  problem  of  the 
colored  and  Indian  races,  female  suffrage,  divorce,  social- 

*Pp.  262-266. 


ism,  and  anarchy, — these  and  kindred  subjects  are  vital, 
and  often  burning  questions  on  which  hinge  the  peace 
and  security  of  the  Commonwealth. 

"Politics  has  a  moral,  as  well  as  a  civil,  aspect;  the 
clergyman  is  a  social,  as  well  as  a  religious,  reformer;  a 
patriot  as  well  as  a  preacher,  and  he  knows  that  the 
permanence  of  our  civic  institutions  rests  on  the  intelli- 
gence and  the  virtue  of  the  people.  He  has  at  heart  the 
temporal,  as  well  as  the  spiritual,  prosperity  of  those 
committed  to  his  care.  They  naturally  look  up  to  him 
as  a  guide  and  teacher.  His  education,  experience,  and 
sacred  character  give  weight  to  his  words  and  example. 

"There  is  scarcely  a  social  or  economic  movement  of 
reform  on  foot,  no  matter  how  extravagant  or  Utopian, 
that  has  not  some  element  of  justice  to  recommend  it  to 
popular  favor.  If  the  scheme  is  abandoned  to  the  control 
of  fanatics,  demagogues,  or  extremists,  it  will  deceive 
the  masses,  and  involve  them  in  greater  misery.  Such 
living  topics  need  discriminating  judges  to  separate  the 
wheat  from  the  chaff. 

"And  who  is  more  fitted  to  handle  these  questions  than 
God's  ambassador,  whose  conservative  spirit  frowns  upon 
all  intemperate  innovation,  and  whose  Christian  sym- 
pathies prompt  him  to  advocate  for  his  suffering  brethren 
every  just  measure  for  the  redress  of  grievances,  and  the 
mitigation  of  needless  misery*? 

"The  timely  interposition  of  the  minister  of  peace 
might  have  helped  to  check  many  a  disastrous  popular 
inundation,  by  watching  its  course,  and  diverting  it  into 
a  safe  channel,  before  it  overspread  the  country.  .  .  . 

"The  reigning  Pontiff,  Leo  XIII,  in  his  usual  masterly 
manner  and  luminous  style,  has,  in  a  series  of  Encyclicals, 
enlarged  on  the  great  social  and  economical  questions 
of  the  day.  In  his  Encyclical  of  January,  1895,  ^^' 
dressed  to  the  Hierarchy  of  the  United  States,  His  Holi- 
ness says: 


"  'As  regards  civil  affairs,  experience  has  shown  how 
important  it  is  that  the  citizens  should  be  upright  and 
virtuous.  In  a  free  State,  unless  justice  be  generally 
cultivated,  unless  the  people  be  repeatedly  and  diligently 
urged  to  observe  the  precepts  and  laws  of  the  Gospel, 
liberty  itself  may  be  pernicious.  Let  those  of  the  clergy, 
therefore,  who  are  occupied  with  the  instruction  of  the 
people,  treat  plainly  this  topic  of  the  duties  of  citizens^ 
so  that  all  may  understand  and  feel  the  necessity  in  po- 
litical life  of  conscientiousness^  self-restraint^  and  in- 
tegrity; for  that  cannot  be  lawful  in  public^  which  is 
unlawful  in  private  affairs.^ 

"Of  course,  the  kingdom  of  God  and  the  salvation  of 
souls  are  the  habitual  theme  of  the  minister  of  religion, 
the  burden  of  his  life-long  solicitude;  and  the  subjects  to 
which  I  have  referred,  are,  in  the  nature  of  things,  ex- 
ceptional and  incidental.  They  should  be  handled,  more- 
over, with  great  prudence  and  discretion,  with  a  mind 
free  from  prejudice  and  partisan  spirit,  and  in  the  sole 
interests  of  Christian  charity,  social  ordei*,  and  public 

In  The  Ambassador  of  Christ"^  he  also  gave  his  own 
code  for  the  effective  preacher.  He  wrote  thus  for  the 
guidance  of  priests : 

"First.  In  every  sermon  you  deliver,  have  a  definite 
object  in  view,  such  as  the  vindication  of  some  special 
truth,  the  advocacy  of  some  virtue,  or  the  denunciation 
of  some  vice.  Let  every  sentence  in  the  discourse  have 
some  relation  to  the  central  idea,  and  help  to  illustrate 
and  enforce  it. 

"Second.    Borrow  as  freely  as  possible  your  thoughts 
and  even  your  expressions  from  the  pages  of  Scripture, 
especially  of  the  New  Testament. 
Tp.  281-283. 


"Third.  Master  your  subject  to  the  best  of  your 
ability.  Commit  to  memory  at  least  the  leading  facts 
logically  arranged. 

"Fourth.  Be  intensely  earnest  in  the  delivery  of  your 
discourse.  Thus  your  hearers  will  be  convinced  that  your 
heart  is  in  your  work.  They  will  be  in  sympathy  with 
you,  they  will  catch  your  spirit,  and  will  be  warmed  by 
the  sacred  flame  issuing  from  your  mouth. 

"The  Gospel  message  conduces  most  to  edification  and 
spiritual  profit  when  conveyed  through  the  medium  of 
direct  and  simple  language.  High-sounding  phrases  may 
tickle  the  ear,  and  gain  admiration  for  the  speaker,  but 
they  will  not  excite  compunction  of  heart  in  the  hearers. 
Affectation  of  style  and  manner,  or  straining  for  effect, 
makes  a  preacher  unnatural  and  pedantic.  It  is  a  desecra- 
tion of  the  pulpit. 

"Plain  speech  that  needs  no  effort  to  be  understood 
is  not  only  necessary  for  the  masses,  but  is  the  most  ac- 
ceptable even  to  cultivated  minds.  Men  listen  to  sermons 
not  for  the  sake  of  abstract  information,  but  for  religious 
and  moral  improvement.  The  true  aim  of  a  discourse 
is  not  so  much  to  enlighten  the  mind  as  to  move  the  heart, 
not  so  much  to  convince  us  of  our  duty  as  to  impel  us 
to  fulfil  it ;  therefore,  the  appeals  best  calculated  to  rouse 
the  conscience  are  straightforward  and  to  the  point,  un- 
encumbered by  ponderous  phraseology.  This  is  genuine 
eloquence,  because  it  fulfils  the  legitimate  end  of  preach- 
ing, namely,  the  spiritual  progress  of  the  hearers. 

"The  most  sublime  thoughts  may  be  embodied  in  the 
plainest  words.  What  is  more  elevated  in  sentiment 
than  Paul's  exhortation  on  charity,  and  yet  what  lan- 
guage is  more  clear  and  transparent  than  his?  Any 
mental  exertion  required  to  follow  the  preacher  and  seize 
his  thoughts  is  painful  to  the  audience,  and  chilling  to 
the  spirit  of  devotion.  Daniel  Webster  used  to  complain 
of  this  kind  of  discourses.    It  involved  too  severe  a  strain 


on  the  intellect  to  be  in  harmony  with  the  spirit  of  wor- 
ship. In  the  House  of  God,  he  said  that  he  wanted  to 
meditate  'upon  the  simple  verities,  and  the  undoubted 
facts  of  religion,'  and  not  on  mere  abstractions  or  specu- 

It  is  doubtful  if  the  sermons  of  any  other  eminent 
preacher  of  recent  times  have  been  so  plentifully  inter- 
spersed with  quotations  from  the  Bible  as  those  of  Gib- 
bons. Indeed,  considerable  portions  of  his  arguments 
were  not  infrequently  phrased  entirely  in  the  language  of 
Scripture.  The  Bible  was  his  constant  companion. 
Sometimes  in  gatherings  where  there  were  clergymen  a 
copy  would  be  desired  and  no  one  was  able  to  produce  it 
but  he.  He  would  take  it  out  and  read  it  at  numerous 
intervals  of  the  day,  when  the  opportunity  presented 
itself,  and  his  gifts  of  memory  enabled  him  to  imprint 
large  parts  of  it  verbatim  upon  his  mind. 

In  a  sermon  on  spiritual  reading  ^  he  said  that  the 
Christian,  in  order  to  fight  successfully  the  foes  which 
assail  him  in  the  world,  had  need  of  strong  religious  disci- 
pline. The  Bible  was  to  the  soldier  of  Christ  what  a 
manual  of  military  tactics  was  to  the  soldier  serving  an 
earthly  government.  "The  timely  remembrance  of  an 
appropriate  sentence  of  Holy  Writ,"  he  said,  was  "a 
tower  of  strength  in  the  hour  of  temptation  or  despon- 
dency. But  we  cannot  conjure  up  these  pious  phrases 
unless,  we  are  familiar  with  the  sacred  text  and  it  is  only 
by  habitual  perusal  of  the  word  of  God  that  we  can 
familiarize  ourselves  with  it."     He  continued: 

"When  the  demon  of  swelling  pride  and  vain  glory 

'Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  143-154. 


assails  you,  let  your  battle-cry  be  the  words  of  the  royal 
prophet;  'Not  to  us,  O  Lord,  not  to  us,  but  to  Thy 
name  give  glory.'  When  the  spirit  of  avarice  haunts 
you,  let  your  antidote  be  the  saying  of  our  Lord :  'What 
doth  it  profit  a  man,  if  he  gain  the  whole  world  and  lose 
his  own  soul?'  When  the  demon  of  unhallowed  desires 
endeavors  to  defile  your  soul,  devoutly  recall  the  words 
of  Christ:  'Blessed  are  the  clean  of  heart,  for  they  shall 
see  God';  or  the  words  of  the  Patriarch  Joseph:  'How 
can  I  sin  in  the  presence  of  my  God  I'  When  tempted 
with  impatience  on  account  of  the  loss  of  goods,  health 
or  relatives,  say  with  Job :  'The  Lord  gave,  the  Lord  hath 
taken  away.    Blessed  be  the  name  of  the  Lord.' 

"It  was  thus  our  Savior  acted  when  tempted  by  the 
devil,  to  teach  us  how  to  conduct  ourselves  in  similar 
circumstances.  When  the  demon  tempted  Him  to  glut- 
tony, our  Lord  answered  by  quoting  an  appropriate  text 
of  Holy  Scripture :  'It  is  written,  not  on  bread  alone  doth 
man  live,  but  by  every  word  that  proceedeth  from  the 
mouth  of  God.'  When  the  devil  tried  to  persuade  Him 
to  perform  an  unnecessary  miracle,  by  precipitating  Him- 
self from  the  pinnacle  of  the  temple,  and  thus  to  tempt 
the  Providence  of  God,  Christ  answered  in  the  words  of 
Holy  Writ:  'Thou  shalt  not  tempt  the  Lord  thy  God.' 
And  when  prompted  to  vainglory,  He  again  replied: 
'Begone,  Satan,  for  it  is  written:  The  Lord  thy  God 
shalt  thou  adore,  and  Him  only  shalt  thou  serve.' 

"The  Word  of  God  is  the  most  fearless  preacher  you 
can  listen  to.  Your  most  intimate  friend  will  hesitate  to 
remind  you  of  your  faults,  from  a  sense  of  delicacy  and 
from  fear  of  being  considered  over  censorious.  Even  the 
ministers  of  God,  though  they  are  commanded  by  the 
Holy  Ghost  to  preach  the  word,  to  reprove,  entreat  and 
rebuke  with  authority,  are  cautious  not  to  lay  bare  the 
diseases  of  the  soul  in  their  naked  deformity,  from  a 
dread  of  suggesting  evil  thoughts  to  the  innocent,  or  of 


giving  personal  offense  to  the  guilty,  or  of  shocking  the 
sensibilities  of  their  hearers  generally.  But  the  inspired 
volume  is  never  ashamed  to  tell  us  the  plain,  unvarnished 
truth,  for  people  can  never  suspect  its  authors  of  being 

"Moreover,  you  cannot  usually  hear  the  living  voice 
of  a  preacher  more  than  once  or  twice  a  week.  His  words 
pass  away,  but  the  written  word  remains.  You  have 
always  the  Sacred  Book  at  your  call.  You  can  ponder 
again  over  a  page  which  has  impressed  you,  and  you  can 
imprint  it  on  your  heart  and  memory." 

In  a  sermon  on  prayer  *  he  spoke  with  the  widest  Chris- 
tian brotherhood  to  all,  saying: 

"Humble  and  earnest  prayer  (for  this  is  the  only 
sort  of  prayer  worth  considering)  is  a  source  of  light  to 
the  mind,  of  comfort  to  the  heart,  and  of  strength  to  the 
will.  By  prayer  we  ascend  like  Moses  to  the  holy  moun- 
tain. There  God  removes  the  scales  from  our  eyes.  He 
dispels  the  clouds  of  passion,  of  prejudice,  or  of  igno- 
rance that  enveloped  us.  He  enlarges  our  mental  vision. 
He  sheds  a  flood  of  light  upon  us  that  enables  us  to  see 
things  as  they  really  are. 

"Standing  on  that  mountain,  we  see  the  shortness  of 
time,  and  how  it  passes  like  a  shadow,  and  we  see  the 
immeasurable  length  of  eternity.  We  are  penetrated 
with  a  sense  of  the  greatness  of  God  alone,  and  the  little- 
ness of  man,  or  if  we  perceive  anything  attractive  in 
him,  it  is  because  he  is  shining  with  borrowed  light.  We 
observe  how  paltry  and  trifling  are  all  things  earthly, 
since  they  are  passing  away,  and  like  the  beloved  John, 
we  get  a  glimpse  of  the  heavenly  Jerusalem. 

"Outside  of  prayer,  indeed,  we  acknowledge  these 
truths;  but  it  is  only  in  prayer  that  we  fully  realize  them 

*  Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  241-250. 


and  relish  them,  and  that  the  words  of  the  Apostle  are 
brought  home  to  us :  'We  have  not  here  a  lasting  city,  but 
we  seek  one  that  is  to  come.' 

"Prayer  ...  is  a  sovereign  remedy  against  dejection 
of  spirits:  'Is  anyone  sad  among  you,  let  him  pray,'  says 
the  Apostle. 

"How  can  we,  as  children,  approach  our  heavenly 
Father,  the  Father  of  mercies  and  the  God  of  all  con- 
solation, without  feeling  a  sense  of  security  and  con- 
fidence! How  can  we  draw  near  to  Jesus  Christ,  the 
Sun  of  Justice,  without  experiencing  the  warmth  of  His 
heavenly  rays !  How  can  we  fervently  pray  to  the  Holy 
Spirit,  who  is  called  the  Paraclete  or  Comforter,  without 
having  our  hearts  dilated  and  enlarged? 

"What  is  the  chief  cause  of  our  unrest?  Is  it  not  our 
excessive  anxiety  about  our  temporal  affairs'?  Now  in 
prayer,  God  gives  us  grace  not  only  to  restrain  our  in- 
ordinate ambition,  but  even  to  curb  and  moderate  our 
laudable  desires.  Those  earthly  things  that  we  so  eagerly 
crave  appear  small  and  trifling  when  weighed  in  the 
scales  of  the  sanctuary,  and  the  sufferings  we  endure 
seem  short  and  momentary  when  measured  by  the 
standard  of  eternity. 

"We  are  told  in  the  Gospel  that  while  Jesus  was  pray- 
ing in  the  garden  of  Gethsemani,  'there  appeared  to  Him 
an  angel  strengthening  Him.'  What  a  striking  symbol 
was  this  heavenly  messenger  of  the  angel  of  consolation 
whom  the  Lord  sends  to  us  in  prayer  to  sweeten  the  bitter 
chalice  which  He  puts  to  our  lips! 

"In  communion  with  God,  our  will  is  endowed  with 
fresh  energy  and  our  heart  is  strengthened  to  bear  the 
adversities  of  life.  The  man  of  prayer  can  say  with 
the  Apostle:  'I  can  do  all  things  in  Him  that  strength- 
eneth  me.' " 

Divine  clemency  was  a  favorite  theme  of  Gibbons. 


In  a  sermon  on  the  subject  "This  man  receiveth  sinners" 
he  said : ® 

"How  immense  is  the  distance  between  God's  treat- 
ment of  a  repentant  sinner  and  man's  conduct  towards 
an  offending  brother  I  And  how  consoling  is  the  thought 
that  in  the  all-important  affair  of  salvation,  sinners  have 
to  deal,  not  with  an  earthly  tribunal  where,  in  the  name 
of  justice,  the  culprit  is  often  overwhelmed  with  pas- 
sionate denunciations,  but  that  they  are  presented  before 
a  heavenly  Judge,  who  has  all  the  clemency  and  mag- 
nanimity of  a  God. 

"In  order  to  obtain  forgiveness  from  the  Almighty, 
and  to  be  restored  to  the  liberty  and  privileges  of  the 
children  of  God;  in  order  to  be  reinstated  as  citizens  of 
Heaven  and  heirs  of  His  eternal  kingdom,  you  are  not 
first  subjected  to  an  indefinite  period  of  probation  to  test 
your  sincerity.  You  are  not  habitually  taunted  for  your 
past  offences.  The  only  condition  of  pardon  that  God 
requires  is  a  contrite  heart,  sincerely  repentant  of  past 

"If  you  can  say  with  the  sorrow  of  David:  T  have 
sinned  against  the  Lord,'  quicker  than  the  lightning  from 
heaven  does  God  send  you  a  full  pardon  in  these  words : 
'The  Lord  also  hath  taken  away  thy  sin.  Thou  shalt  not 
die,'  O I  well  may  we  exclaim  with  the  royal  prophet, 
when  he  was  offered  a  choice  of  punishment  from  God 
or  from  men:  'It  is  better  that  I  should  fall  into  the 
hands  of  the  Lord  (for  His  mercies  are  many)  than  into 
the  hands  of  men.'  " 

In  a  sermon  on  "What  is  a  Saint*?"  he  emphasized  a 
point  upon  which  he  often  dwelt,  that  the  obstacles  to 
the  Christian  life  are  exaggerated  in  the  minds  of  many. 
He  said:  ^ 

"Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  312-321. 
"^Retrospect  of  Fifty  Years,  Vol.  II,  pp.  249-261. 


"There  are  some  who  imagine  that  a  Saint  is  one  of 
whom  we  read  in  ancient  history  and  who  belongs  to  an 
almost  extinct  species,  some  ante-diluvian  who  flourished 
like  the  giants  of  former  ages,  or  King  Arthur's  Knights 
of  the  Round  Table,  but  whose  race  is  well-nigh  run  out, 
and  whose  place  is  now  rarely  found  on  earth. 

"No,  thank  God,  the  generation  of  Saints  is  not  ex- 
tinct. They  exist  in  our  day.  They  are  to  be  found  in 
this  city  and  under  our  own  eyes.  They  are  in  every 
congregation  of  Baltimore.  They  sanctify  their  homes 
by  the  integrity  of  their  character  and  by  their  domestic 
virtues.     'Their  lives  are  hidden  with  Christ  in  God.' 

"And  these  noble  spirits  are  as  unconscious  of  their 
increase  in  holiness,  as  they  are  of  their  physical  growth; 
this  is  all  the  better  for  them.  It  is  only  when  they  begin 
to  view  themselves  with  complacency,  and  to  have  an 
exalted  opinion  of  themselves  that  they  take  a  step  back- 
ward, and  are  in  danger  of  imitating  the  Pharisee  who 
boasted  that  he  was  not  like  the  rest  of  men. 

"There  are  others  again  who  entertain  the  notion  that 
to  be  Saints  persons  must  spend  half  their  time  in  prayer, 
the  other  half  in  corporal  mortification.  This  mode  of 
life  would  suit  very  well  a  holy  anchoret,  or  women  like 
the  devout  Anna,  'who  departed  not  from  the  temple,  but 
by  fastings  and  prayers  worshipped  night  and  day.' 
But  it  would  not  befit  the  bulk  of  Christians  whose  daily 
life  is  devoted  to  secular  and  domestic  pursuits,  for  these 
duties  cannot  be  omitted  without  violating  conscience 
and  deranging  the  good  order  of  society  or  of  the  family. 

"A  man  who  would  spend  in  church  the  time  which 
should  be  consecrated  to  his  business  affairs  would  be 
apt  to  bring  religious  exercises  into  disrepute  by  per- 
forming them  out  of  due  season.  It  is  true  indeed  that 
Mary,  who  was  given  to  contemplation,  is  praised  by  the 
Master  for  having  chosen  the  better  part,  but  it  is  equally 
true  that  her  sister  Martha,  who  was  occupied  in  house- 


hold  affairs,  had  a  share  in  the  esteem  and  benefaction 
of  our  Lord. 

"There  are  others  who  picture  to  themselves  a  Saint 
as  an  individual  of  a  sad  or  gloomy  disposition,  of  a 
melancholy  and  dejected  aspect  like  the  knight  of  the  sor- 
rowful figure.  Our  Saviour  gives  us  a  different  view  of 
a  servant  of  God.  He  tells  us  that  even  in  our  penitential 
acts  we  should  maintain  a  cheerful  demeanor.  'When 
ye  fast,'  he  says,  'be  not  like  the  hypocrites  sad,  for  they 
disfigure  their  faces  that  they  may  appear  to  men  to 
fast.  But  thou,  when  thou  fastest,  anoint  thy  head,  and 
wash  thy  face,  that  thou  appear  not  to  men  to  fast  but 
to  thy  Father  who  is  in  secret,  and  thy  Father  who  seeth 
in  secret  will  repay  thee.' 

"The  Saints  are  conspicuous  for  habitual  cheerfulness, 
because  they  have  an  upright  conscience,  and  cheerful- 
ness is  the  fruition  of  a  good  conscience,  or  of  a  soul  at 
peace  with  God  and  men. 

"What  then  is  a  Saint?  A  Saint  is  one  who  keeps 
the  commandments  of  God  and  the  precepts  of  the 
Church,  and  discharges  with  fidelity  the  duties  of  his 
state  of  life.  Another  characteristic  of  a  Saint  is  that  he 
bears  with  Christian  fortitude  and  patience  the  trials  of 
life,  whether  imposed  on  him  by  the  inscrutable  visita- 
tions of  Providence,  or  inflicted  by  the  malice  of  man, 
or  resulting  from  the  infirmities  of  his  nature." 

His  unfailing  belief  in  a  personal  Providence  was  thus 
expressed  in  a  sermon  upon  that  subject:^ 

"How  delightful  the  assurance  that  no  injury  can  pos- 
sibly befall  you  against  the  will  of  Him  whom  no  power 
can  resist:  that  God  will  make  the  very  malice  of  your 
enemies  to  serve  as  instruments  to  exalt  and  glorify  you, 
and  that  your  momentary  discomfitures  will  be  so  many 

''Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  346-355. 


stepping-stones  to  your  final  victory.  Tor,  we  know  that 
to  them  that  love  God  all  things  work  together  unto  good, 
to  such  as  according  to  His  purpose  are  called  to  be 
saints.'  And  in  order  to  be  assured  of  God's  providential 
protection,  the  only  condition  required  is  that  you  rebel 
not  against  His  holy  will,  but  heartily  abandon  yourself 
to  His  good  pleasure  and  faithfully  observe  His  law. 

"I  appeal,  my  dear  brethren,  to  your  own  experience. 
Review  your  past  lives.  Examine  the  chain  of  incidents 
in  the  light  of  faith,  and  are  you  not  forced  to  admit 
that  those  vicissitudes  of  health  and  sickness,  those  alter- 
nations of  joy  and  sorrow,  of  prosperity  and  adversity, 
were  but  the  handmaids  of  Providence,  the  frowns  and 
caresses  of  a  loving  Father  leading  you  on  to  your  desti- 
nation*? And  thus  the  testimony  of  your  own  observa- 
tion confirms  the  voice  of  revelation,  saying  that  'to  them 
that  love  God,  all  things  work  together  unto  good.' 

"Let  me  now  refer  to  a  popular  objection  against 
a  personal  Providence.  Honor,  riches  and  health,  you 
will  say,  are  gifts  of  God.  Why,  then,  do  the  wicked  so 
frequently  possess  them  in  abundance,  while  the  righteous 
are  so  often  afflicted  by  contempt,  poverty  and  suffering^ 
Why  is  the  innocent  Abel  slain,  while  the  fratricide, 
Cain,  is  allowed  to  roam  the  earth?  Why  is  the  impious 
Achab  dwelling  in  an  ivory  palace,  while  Elias  is  hunted 
like  a  criminal  *?  Why  is  Herod  exalted  on  a  throne,  and 
John  is  immured  in  a  dungeon?  Why  is  Nero  ruling  an 
empire,  while  Paul  is  languishing  in  chains'?  Is  it  not 
reasonable  to  expect  that  the  great  Disposer  of  events 
should  show  partiality  to  His  friends  rather  than  to  His 

"To  this  objection  I  will  answer  that,  to  judge 
adequately  of  God's  Providence  towards  us,  we  must  not 
restrict  ourselves  to  a  partial  or  one-sided  view  of  man's 
destiny,  but  we  must  contemplate  him  in  the  whole  cycle 
of  his  existence.     We  cannot  judge  of  the  success  of  a 


race  until  the  contestants  reach  the  goal.  We  must  re- 
member that  man's  soul  is  immortal,  that  his  duration 
will  be  eternal,  and  that  the  day  of  final  reckoning  will 
come  only  at  the  termination  of  the  present  life.  Why, 
then,  impeach  the  justice  of  our  Creator  if  He  permits  the 
impious  to  prosper  for  a  time,  and  defers  rewarding  His 
servants  until  the  close  of  their  earthly  pilgrimage*?  'One 
day  with  the  Lord  is  as  a  thousand  years,  and  a  thousand 
years  as  one  day.'  And  what  are  even  a  thousand  years 
in  comparison  with  eternity^" 

Gibbons'  habitual  cheerfulness,  even  joyousness  in  per- 
sonal demeanor,  whether  exhibited  to  President,  King  or 
gamin,  was  based  upon  inward  faith.  In  a  sermon  upon 
"Why  we  should  rejoice"  he  said:  ^ 

"A  joyous  disposition  amid  the  vicissitudes  of  daily 
life,  I  regard  as  the  highest  form  of  Christian  philosophy. 
The  cheerfulness  which  I  have  in  mind  is  the  fruit  of 
innocence  and  charity,  and  therefore  to  enjoy  this  gift 
we  must  have  a  pure  heart  before  God,  and  the  milk  of 
human  kindness  for  our  fellow-beings. 

"This  cheerfulness  does  not  consist  in  fitful  transports, 
but  in  an  habitual  serenity  of  mind.  It  does  not  usually 
explode  in  loud  laughter  and  boisterous  mirth.  It  is  not 
a  sudden  flash  which  is  rapidly  extinguished.  It  is  rather 
a  steady  flame  flowing  from  a  heart  that  is  filled  with  the 
fire  of  the  Holy  Ghost. 

"The  cheerful  man  is  not  much  disturbed  by  the 
changes  and  accidents  of  daily  life.  He  rides  upon  the 
storm.  He  rises  superior  to  adversity.  He  is  borne  on 
the  wings  of  hope  and  love.  But  the  man  of  a  gloomy 
and  fretful  temperament  is  oppressed  by  the  burden  oi 
life,  and  sinks  under  it. 

"The  cheerful  man  not  only  has  sunshine  in  his  own 
heart,  but  he  diffuses  it  around  him.     When  he  enters  a 

''Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  23-32. 


room,  the  company  feel  the  warmth  of  his  presence,  and 
their  hearts  expand  with  pleasure.  He  exercises  on  their 
spirits  the  same  influence  that  the  electric  lights,  when 
they  are  turned  on  in  this  Cathedral,  produce  upon  your 
senses.  The  gloomy  man,  on  the  contrary,  repels  them, 
and  casts  a  dark  shadow  over  them. 

"O  my  brethren,  what  is  wealth  or  honor  to  man! 
What  is  a  kingdom  to  him,  if  the  kingdom  of  his  soul 
is  dark  and  desolate,  and  overshadowed  by  the  clouds  of 
sadness  and  despair  I  .  .  . 

"And  now  let  me  offer  you  in  conclusion  a  few  prac- 
tical suggestions.  First  of  all,  endeavor  to  establish  the 
reign  of  joy  and  sunshine  in  your  own  heart.  To  accom- 
plish this  blessed  result,  three  conditions  are  necessary. 
First.  You  must  have  a  pure  and  upright  conscience 
before  God.  Second.  You  must  maintain  an  habitual 
spirit  of  benevolence  towards  your  fellowman;  for  you 
can  not  have  serenity  in  your  heart  so  long  as  it  is 
clouded  by  resentment  towards  your  neighbor.  Third. 
Keep  yourself  free  from  inordinate  attachment  to  any- 
thing earthly.  .  .  .  Once  you  have  planted  the  blessings 
of  joy  within  you,  let  its  beams  radiate  throughout  your 

A  discourse  in  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on  "Solicitude 
of  Mind"  was  an  illustration  of  the  practical  helpfulness 
which  Gibbons  sought  to  bestow  in  most  of  his  sermons. 
He  said :  ^ 

"I  do  not  pretend  to  read  your  thoughts,  my  brethren, 
but  I  venture  to  say  that  there  is  scarcely  a  member  of 
the  congregation  before  me  who  is  not  agitated  by  some 
vain  hope  or  fear.  Each  of  you  has  his  daily  round  of 
cares,  which  flow  and  ebb  like  the  tide.  As  soon  as  one 
care  subsides  another  rises  in  your  breast  in  endless  suc- 

"  Diso curse  and  Sermons,  pp.  418-426. 


"Those  of  you  who  are  more  favored  in  your  temporal 
condition  may  be  preoccupied  by  the  rise  and  fall  in 
stocks  and  bonds  and  the  fluctuations  in  the  market. 
Those  of  you  who  are  in  more  modest  circumstances  are 
solicitous  about  your  future  wants  for  the  decent  sup- 
port of  life.  Others  are  anxious  about  the  result  of  a  law- 
suit, or  of  some  impending  event,  on  the  issue  of  which 
you  imagine  your  future  happiness  depends.  Some  of 
you,  again,  are  fretful  and  uneasy  regarding  your  own 
health,  or  about  the  recovery  of  a  sick  friend  or  of  a 
member  of  your  household. 

"Now,  the  religion  of  Christ,  which  was  established  to 
prepare  us  for  bliss  in  the  world  to  come,  contributes  at 
the  same  time  to  our  happiness  in  this  life,  as  far  as  it  can 
be  attained  in  our  present  condition.  And  as  cares  and 
solicitudes  are  a  bar  to  peace  and  tranquillity,  our  Lord 
suggests  to  us  by  His  inspired  writers  and  by  His  own 
voice  the  motives  and  means  of  banishing  those  cares,  or 
of  lessening  their  hurtful  influence  and  of  lightening  their 
burden.  If  Christ  will  not  subdue  the  storm  that  assails 
us  He  will  at  least  help  us  to  ride  upon  the  waves  of  ad- 
versity, as  He  enabled  Peter  to  walk  upon  the  sea  of 

"St.  Paul  says:  'Be  not  solicitous  about  anything 
(observe  that  he  makes  no  exception  of  any  cause  whatso- 
ever), but  by  prayer  and  supplication  let  your  petitions 
be  made  known  to  God.'  Instead  of  consuming  ourselves 
with  vain  fears,  he  exhorts  us  to  lift  up  our  hearts  to 
Heaven  for  light  and  strength. 

"St.  Peter  expresses  the  same  thought  in  these  few  but 
touching  words:  'Cast  your  care  upon  the  Lord,  for  He 
will  sustain  you.'  Deposit  the  bundle  of  your  solicitudes 
in  the  arms  of  your  Heavenly  Father.  He  will  dispose  of 

"  'Which  of  you,'  says  our  Lord,  'by  thinking,  can  add 
to  his  stature  one  cubit?'    What  good  will  all  this  fretful- 


ness  and  gnawing  care  do  you*?  It  will  not  add  one  inch 
to  your  height,  or  one  ounce  to  your  weight,  or  one  cent 
to  your  wealth,  or  one  jot  to  your  happiness,  or  one  day 
to  your  span  of  life.  That  excessive  anxiety  to  which 
you  yield  weakens  the  intellect,  dissipates  the  energies 
of  the  will  and  incapacitates  you  for  the  due  performance 
of  your  duties,  while  an  abiding  trust  in  God  enables  you 
to  work  with  a  concentrated  mind  and  a  hearty  good  will. 

"You  believe  in  the  existence  of  a  superintending 
Power  that  watches  over  the  affairs  of  men  and  of  na- 
tions. You  know  that  the  same  Divine  Wisdom  that 
numbers  and  names  the  stars  of  the  firmament  counts 
the  very  hairs  of  your  head.  You  know  that  the  same 
Omnipotent  God,  who  supports  and  nourishes  the  angels 
in  Heaven,  feeds  also  the  worms  of  the  earth. 

"The  upshot  of  Christ's  teaching  is  this:  You  should 
be  active  and  industrious  without  excessive  solicitude, 
diligent  and  laborious  without  anxiety.  Labor  today  as 
if  all  depended  upon  your  own  right  arm  and  brain; 
trust  tomorrow  as  if  all  depended  upon  the  Providence  of 
God.  Use  today,  for  it  is  yours;  trouble  not  yourselves 
about  the  morrow,  for  it  belongs  to  God ;  it  is  still  in  the 
womb  of  futurity  and  may  never  be  bom  to  you. 

"  'Be  not  solicitous  for  tomorrow,  for  tomorrow  will 
be  solicitous  for  itself.  Sufficient  for  the  day  is  the  evil 
thereof.'  Do  not  derange  the  order  of  Divine  Providence 
by  superadding  to  the  cares  of  today  the  solicitudes  of 
tomorrow,  which  are  often  imaginary  or  magnified  by  the 
imagination.  Like  a  skilful  general,  concentrate  your 
powers  on  the  formidable  enemy  that  confronts  you  now. 
Do  not  scatter  your  forces  by  striving  at  the  same  time 
to  encounter  an  enemy  yet  afar  off,  who  may  never 
approach  you. 

"Endeavor  to  pass  through  cares  as  it  were  without 
care.  While  it  may  be  impossible  to  prevent  the  mists  of 
perplexity  and  anxiety  from  hovering  about  the  imagina- 


tion  and  clouding  the  senses,  do  not  permit  these  vapors 
to  ascend  to  the  higher  and  more  serene  atmosphere  where 
the  soul  is  enthroned  and  communes  in  undisturbed  peace 
with  its  Maker. 

"Remember  that  the  moral  Ruler  of  the  world  holds 
the  reins  of  government,  which  He  never  surrenders.  So 
long  as  He  guides  and  controls  the  chariot  that  carries 
you  and  your  fortunes,  happen  what  will,  you  have 
nothing  to  fear,  provided  you  put  your  trust  in  Him. 
'Hope  in  the  Lord,  and  do  good,  and  He  will  give  you 
the  desires  of  your  heart.' 

"Be  not  solicitous  about  anything,  but  by  prayer  and 
supplication  let  your  petitions  be  made  known  to  God; 
and  may  the  peace  of  God,  which  surpasseth  all  under- 
standing, keep  your  hearts  and  minds  in  Christ  Jesus." 

Gibbons  gave  his  forecast  of  one  aspect  of  the  future 
life  in  a  sermon  preached  in  the  Baltimore  Cathedral  on 
"Social  and  Domestic  Joys  of  Heaven."  As  he  looked 
back  on  the  hundreds  of  discourses  which  he  delivered 
from  the  pulpit,  this  had  been  one  of  his  favorites.  His 
text  was  John  xiv.  2-3 :  "In  my  Father's  house  there  are 
many  mansions:  I  go  to  prepare  a  place  for  you." 

Saying  that  the  whole  court  of  heaven  was  represented 
in  the  Bible  as  one  family,  God  Himself  being  the  Father 
of  the  household,  he  proceeded :  ^^ 

"From  this  picture  of  heaven  we  see  at  once  that  the 
Saints  will  not  live  in  a  state  of  isolation  or  seclusion; 
they  will  not  dwell  apart,  standing  like  statues  on  a  ped- 
estal ;  they  will  not  be  in  a  condition  of  mental  abstrac- 
tion, so  absorbed  in  the  contemplation  of  God  as  to  be 
unconscious  of  each  other's  presence :  they  will  enjoy,  on 

^Retrospect,  Vol.  II,  pp.  262-278. 


the  contrary,  not  only  the  vision  of  their  Creator,  but 
the  happy  society  also  of  one  another. 

"Man  is  by  nature  a  social  being.  God  has  planted 
in  his  breast  an  irresistible  desire  to  consort  and  converse 
with  his  fellow-man.  And  as  Boethius  remarks,  our  hap- 
piness is  increased  when  we  can  share  it  with  others. 
Indeed  the  most  frightful  punishment  you  can  inflict  on 
any  one  is  to  deprive  him  of  all  human  fellowship,  or  to 
condemn  him  to  solitary  confinement. 

"Now  in  heaven  the  essential  characteristics  of  our 
nature  are  not  destroyed  but  preserved.  Grace  will  not 
supplant  nature.  It  will  supplement  and  perfect  it.  And 
therefore  man  will  remain  in  heaven  as  he  is  now  on  earth 
— a  social  being." 

"We  are  assured  by  the  Scriptures  and  the  writings  of 
the  fathers  that  the  blessed  will  recognize  one  another  in 
the  City  of  God  .  .  .  and  the  particular  affection  they 
will  have  for  their  kindred  and  relatives  will  in  no  wise 
violate  the  law  of  universal  charity,  just  as  Christ's 
predilection  for  His  mother,  for  the  Apostles  and  the 
Baptist  did  not  lessen  in  the  slightest  degree  his  love  for 
the  host  of  heaven.  .  .  .  Death  shall  not  erase  from 
your  minds  the  memory  of  those  with  whom  you  were  as- 
sociated here  and  who  shared  in  your  joys  and  sorrows  on 
earth.  ...  It  is  repugnant  to  our  religious  sense  that  a 
devoted  Christian  family  who  were  united  here  below 
would  be  separated  in  the  life  to  come." 

The  recollection  of  the  occasional  animosities  that 
cloud  life  on  earth,  he  declared,  would  not  mar  the 
peace  of  the  family  in  the  City  of  God,  but  "the  memory 
of  those  estrangements  will  serve  rather  to  augment  your 
joys,  because  you  will  be  conscious  that  these  moral 
wounds  have  been  healed  by  the  blood  of  the  Lamb,  never 


to  return."    He  dwelt  upon  the  meetings  of  friends  in  the 
future  life,  saying: 

"How  ineffable  will  be  the  delight  of  friends  in  heaven 
whose  fellowships  will  meet  with  the  approving  smile  of 
the  great  King,  and  who  will  have  no  fear  of  being  ever 
separated  by  estrangement  or  death." 

While  Gibbons  shunned  many  of  the  devices  of  oratory, 
he  rose  not  infrequently  to  heights  in  his  sermons  which 
produced  the  effect  of  masterful  eloquence  upon  his 
hearers.  His  perorations  were  sometimes  highly  effective, 
especially  in  view  of  his  delivery,  the  public  speaker's 
summum  bonum  according  to  the  precept  of  Demosthenes. 
Even  in  these,  however,  he  clung  to  his  general  plan  of 
clearness  and  simplicity,  together  with  the  conveyance  of 
helpful  meaning.  The  following  passage  at  the  close  of 
one  of  his  sermons,  on  "Descent  of  the  Holy  Ghost  on  the 
Apostles'  "  will  serve  as  an  illustration :  ^^ 

"God  of  all  consolation,  who  comfortest  us  in  all  our 
tribulations,  let  the  light  of  Thy  countenance  shine  upon 
us.  Dispel  from  us  all  clouds  of  gloom  and  sadness. 
Give  us  Thy  blessed  peace,  that  triple  peace  which  Thou 
didst  bestow  on  Thy  Apostles — peace  with  God,  peace 
with  our  neighbor,  peace  with  ourselves.  Give  us  that 
peace  of  God  which  'surpasseth  all  understanding,' 
which  'the  world  cannot  give' ;  that  peace  which  will  keep 
our  hearts  serene  and  tranquil  amid  the  storms  of  life,  so 
that  we  may  rejoice  with  exceeding  great  joy  in  the  midst 
of  our  tribulations. 

"Reign  over  every  faculty  of  our  soul.  Reign  over 
our  mind,  that  we  may  daily  meditate  on  Thy  mercies. 

"  Discourses  and  Sermons,  p.  287. 


Reign  over  our  will  that  we  may  ever  love  Thee.  Reign 
over  our  memory  that  we  may  be  mindful  of  Thy  past 
favors.  Reign  over  our  imagination,  and  the  whole  range 
of  our  thoughts.    Reign  over  us  in  time  and  in  eternity." 

Another  example  of  the  same  kind  is  the  following 
from  a  sermon  on  "Reflections  on  Death" :  ^^ 

"Why,  then,  should  you  have  a  morbid  dread  of  death, 
soldiers  of  the  Cross*?  Let  the  infidel  fear  death,  who 
hopes  in  his  heart  that  there  is  no  God.  Let  the  obdurate 
sinner  fear  death,  who  offends  the  majesty  of  Heaven  by 
his  sins.  Let  the  slave  of  lust  and  avarice  fear  death, 
which  will  be  the  end  of  his  pleasures  and  the  beginning 
of  his  miseries.  .  .  . 

"But  as  for  you,  why  should  you  dread  death?  Has 
not  your  Master  said:  'O  death,  I  will  be  thy  death'?' 
Has  He  not  conquered  the  king  of  terrors  by  His  own 
death  and  glorious  resurrection?  Has  He  not  demon- 
strated by  word  and  example  that  death  is  not  the  termi- 
nation of  your  existence?  Has  He  not  lifted  up  the  veil 
and  given  you  an  insight  into  that  bright  and  boundless 
realm  beyond  the  grave?  Why  should  you  fear  to  pass 
through  the  gate  which  leads  to  the  regions  of  bliss 
eternal  ? 

"With  what  delight  does  the  prisoner  hear  the  huge 
bolts  of  his  dungeon  door  drawn  aside,  and  listen  to  the 
messenger  of  the  law  reading  the  sentence  of  his  deliver- 
ance I  With  what  joy  he  bounds  into  the  light  of  day 
and  breathes  the  air  of  freedom  and  hastens  to  his  father's 
home  I  And  should  you  not  rejoice  in  that  day  which  will 
release  you  from  the  prison  of  the  body,  reveal  to  you 
the  light  of  Heaven,  restore  you  to  the  glorious  liberty 
of  the  children  of  God,  and  enable  you  to  enter  the  home 
of  your  eternal  Father?" 

^Discourses  and  Sermons,  pp.  435-36. 


Gibbons  the  reader  sits  in  his  study  in  the  archiepis- 
copal  residence  in  Baltimore.  He  has  just  finished  his 
frugal  dinner.  It  is  seven  o'clock  or  a  little  later.  The 
work  of  the  day  is  over.  He  wears  his  gray  dressing 
gown,  reaching  almost  to  his  feet.  Upon  his  head  is  th« 
red  zuchetto  or  skull  cap  which  a  Cardinal  always  wears. 
He  smokes  his  second  cigar  of  the  day — his  only  sem- 
blance of  luxury.  It  is  far  from  being  a  costly  cigar. 
Wealthy  friends  have  begged  him  until  they  are  wearied 
to  permit  them  to  supply  him  always  with  the  finest 
Havanas  made  to  his  order,  but  he  refuses.  He  will  use 
in  works  of  benevolence  the  money  which  such  cigars  rep- 
resent, if  they  wish,  but  will  never  smoke  luxurious  cigars. 

He  has  drawn  up  to  his  desk  a  cane  seat  armchair  with- 
out rockers,  containing  a  leather  cushion,  and  sits  half- 
crouched  in  it,  his  eyes  peering  intently  at  the  pages  of 
the  book  which  he  is  reading.  Sometimes  he  puts  another 
chair  in  front  of  him  and  elevates  his  slippered  feet  upon 
it  for  comfort. 

Upon  his  desk  is  a  "student's  lamp,"  burning  oil,  of  a 

type  familiar  in  his  younger  days  before  the  development 

of  the  better  types  of  gas  and  electric  lamps.     It  emits  a 

good  light  and  he  will  have  no  other.    Here  again  wealthy 



friends  have  attempted  to  interpose,  but  in  vain.  One 
of  them,  after  many  efforts,  obtained  permission  to  equip 
the  house  with  electric  lights  and  even  put  an  excellent 
light  of  that  kind  on  the  Cardinal's  desk,  but  after  a  fe>y 
days  he  discarded  it  and  resumed  the  use  of  the  old  oil 

Upon  the  top  of  the  desk,  surmounting  it,  is  a  large 
crucifix.  The  papers  upon  the  desk  and  in  its  pigeon 
holes  are  in  fairly  good  order,  for  the  Cardinal  is  dis- 
posed to  be  neat  and  systematic  in  such  things.  Around 
the  walls  are  crowded  bookshelves,  and  there  are  more 
books  in  his  simple  bedroom  adjoining.  These  are  the 
Cardinal's  favorites.  The  main  archiepiscopal  library  is 
downstairs,  in  a  wing  of  the  house  especially  built  for  it, 
but  the  Cardinal  always  reads  in  his  study.  In  his  own 
special  collection  the  Bible,  in  various  languages  and  edi- 
tions, holds  first  place. 

Thus  the  Cardinal  appeared  while  enjoying  his  nightly 
diversion  and  thus  his  friends  saw  him  in  a  long  period 
of  years.  From  seven  to  nine  o'clock  every  evening  he 
was  accustomed  to  read  constantly,  unless  interrupted  by 
one  of  the  few  intimates  who  had  access  to  his  studj. 
Some  of  these  were  Bishops;  others  priests;  still  others 
Catholic  laymen;  and  they  also  included  Protestants  and 
Jews.  The  personal  tie  was  the  one  that  prevailed  in 
these  cases. 

The  Cardinal  read  fast.  His  extraordinary  memory 
enabled  him  to  retain  everything  that  he  wished  to  retain 
from  the  pages,  even  though  his  eyes  raced  along  the  lines. 
He  possessed  the  faculty  almost  of  reading  by  sentences, 
groups  of  sentences  or  even  pages.    One  glance  did  much. 


His  powers  of  perception  were  perhaps  unsurpassed  by 
those  of  any  man  of  his  time;  persons  who  observed  this 
phenomenon  in  him — for  it  was  a  phenomenon — were 
ready  to  say  that  they  were  unequaled.  In  his  long  life 
his  range  of  reading  packed  his  mind  like  a  great  store 
house  with  an  immense  variety  of  exact  information. 

He  read  for  style  as  well  as  facts.  The  Cardinal  en- 
joyed style.  His  taste  in  this  respect  was  that  of  an 
English  purist,  and  his  standards  were  the  best  classical 
models  of  the  language  which  he  spoke  in  daily  life.  In 
America,  he  believed,  there  was  too  much  haste  in  the 
production  of  literature,  but  many  English  writers  took 
more  time  and  turned  out  more  artistic  products.  He 
liked  the  smooth,  flowing  sentence,  a  combination  of  sim- 
plicity, strength  and  grace. 

His  range  was  the  very  widest  among  good  books. 
He  kept  up  at  all  times  with  publications  relating  to  the 
Catholic  Church  and  the  subject  of  religion  generally, 
including  theology,  philosophy.  Church  history  and  biog- 
raphy. Outside  of  books  relating  to  the  ecclesiastical  life, 
his  favorite  reading  was  history,  especially  that  of  the 
United  States.  He  read  all  of  the  great  works  on  that 
subject,  and  many  that  were  not  great.  Now  and  then 
he  would  reread  a  historical  book  which  especially  fas- 
cinated him.  American  constitutional  history  was  one  of 
his  favorite  subjects  of  research  and  meditation.  He 
liked  to  trace  and  retrace  the  processes  of  historical  evolu- 
tion and  of  mature  thought  by  which  the  American  con- 
stitution was  framed.  It  was  his  model  for  a  civil  gov- 
ernment. He  agreed  with  Hamilton  and  Madison  in 
their  pleas  in  the  Federalist  papers,  and  regarded  these 


pleas  as  applicable  in  his  own  time.  In  the  fields  of 
American  history  and  civics  his  range  of  reading  was 
without  limit. 

Now  and  then  he  read  a  novel  to  divert  his  mind  from 
the  absorbing  experiences  of  the  day.  Any  novel  that  was 
wholesome,  and,  preferably  had  a  touch  of  elegance  of 
style,  was  acceptable  to  him.  The  dramatic  action  stim- 
ulated his  interest  keenly,  for  there  was  abundant  zest  in 
everything  that  he  did. 

He  was  more  than  ordinarily  fond  of  novels  dealing 
in  whole  or  in  part  with  religious  subjects,  such  as  "The 
Garden  of  Allah."  The  works  of  Anthony  Trollope, 
A.  Conan  Doyle  and  F.  Marion  Crawford  he  also  found 
particularly  attractive.  He  read  considerably  in  Latin 
and  Greek,  being  fond  of  Cicero,  Horace  and  Homer. 
One  of  his  favorite  works,  much  of  the  philosophy  of 
which  he  illustrated  in  his  own  person,  was  De  Senectute. 
Works  in  French  occupied  much  space  in  his  library  and 
he  read  them  with  facility. 

Poetry  fascinated  him.  He  liked  Pope,  Dry  den,  Gold- 
smith and  Moore,  and  rambled  widely  in  his  excursions  of 
reading  among  both  the  English  and  American  schools  of 

All  books  of  low  standard  he  barred  rigorously.  He 
would  not  read  them  merely  to  understand  their  type  of 
literature  or  the  type  of  life  which  they  portrayed.  In 
him  they  excited  only  aversion.  In  a  sermon  on  "Spirit- 
ual Reading"  he  once  laid  down  these  precepts :  ^ 

"Rigidly  exclude  from  your  household  all  books  and 
pamphlets  which  are  hostile  to  religion  and  good  morals. 

^Discourses  and  Sermons,  p.  249. 


Never  admit  into  your  homes  any  newspaper  or  periodical 
which  ventilates  obscene  news  or  licentious  scandals. 
You  are  careful  to  avoid  any  dish  which  you  know  from 
experience  would  nauseate  your  stomach,  no  matter  how 
tempting  and  palatable  it  may  be  to  the  taste.  Why 
then  should  you  not  discard  those  highly-seasoned  novels 
which  may  be  agreeable  to  a  morbid  appetite,  but  which 
defile  the  imagination  and  enfeeble  the  soul^" 

Magazines  and  newspapers  whose  general  tone  com- 
mended itself  to  him  he  read  with  avidity.  He  was  al- 
ways keen  to  keep  up  with  contemporary  events  and 
thought.  English  and  French  magazines  in  much  variety 
were  especially  included  in  his  range.  Few  men  were 
better  informed  on  current  events.  He  had  a  penetrat- 
ing power  of  interpreting  accurately  what  he  read. 

Authorship  naturally  had  a  powerful  appeal  to  one 
who  wandered  so  much  in  literary  fields,  yet  he  tempered 
this  impulse,  as  all  others,  to  the  cause  of  religion.  His 
first  and  most  successful  book,  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers, 
was  produced  as  a  direct  result  of  missionary  zeal  alone. 
This  appeared  in  1876;  his  second  book  Our  Christian 
Heritage^  in  1889;  the  third.  The  Ambassador  of  Christ, 
in  1896;  the  fourth,  Discourses  and  Sermons,  in  1908; 
and  the  fifth  and  last,  A  Retrospect  of  Fifty  Years,  in 

He  wrote  his  books  rapidly  and,  indeed,  wrote  letters 
rapidly  also,  for  his  habit  was  to  think  over  in  advance 
what  he  had  to  say  and  when  he  was  ready  to  use  the  pen 
his  ideas  flowed  much  faster  than  his  hand  could  move. 
Sometimes  he  made  notes  when  his  thoughts  called  for 
expression  so  fast  that  there  was  danger  of  losing  them 


from  the  slowness  of  the  pen,  and  then  he  would  elaborate 
the  notes  afterward. 

"The  great  thing  as  to  style,"  he  once  remarked  in 
speaking  of  his  methods  in  writing  books,  "is  to  have 
something  to  say.  Words  will  come  at  the  pressure  of  an 

His  aim  was  always  at  simplicity  of  style.  "That  is 
the  most  difficult,"  he  used  to  observe. 

He  wrote  in  a  small,  regular  hand,  erasing  little.  The 
typewriter's  development  came  too  late  in  his  life  to  be  of 
direct  personal  use  to  him.  Most  of  his  books  were  com- 
posed in  a  comparatively  short  time.  This  was  necessa- 
rily the  case  in  such  a  crowded  life. 

Gibbons  was  diverted  into  productive  literature  by  his 
experiences  in  North  Carolina,  the  fountain  of  so  many 
of  his  aspirations,  policies  and  accomplishments.  Kindly 
Protestant  gentle  folk  of  that  State  who  welcomed  him 
to  their  homes  when  he  was  engaged  in  missionary  jour- 
neys over  his  vicariate,  because  there  was  often  no  Cath- 
olic in  a  whole  town  whose  guest  he  might  be,  were  no 
less  ready  to  proffer  their  hospitality  than  to  present  to 
him  frankly  their  often  distorted  views  of  the  faith 
which  he  had  come  to  spread.  While,  of  course,  courtesy 
forbade  them  to  obtrude  the  subject  when  there  was 
no  occasion  for  it,  all  the  circumstances  of  his  mis- 
sion there  tended  to  bring  clearly  before  him  the  mis- 
understandings of  the  Catholic  Church  which  had  accu- 
mulated through  the  years  when  she  was  unknown  to 
the  mass  of  North  Carolinians  by  direct  contact.  Force 
of  circumstances  caused  him  to  learn  the  viewpoint  of  the 


majority  of  those  among  whom  his  lot  was  cast  at  that 
stage  of  his  life. 

Sometimes  preaching  in  a  community  where  the  Catho- 
lic religion  was  unknown,  perhaps  from  the  pulpit  of  a 
Protestant  church,  which  he  did  not  hesitate  to  use  when 
occasion  offered  no  other  means,  he  undertook  to  answer 
the  objections  developed  by  his  observations  in  the  com- 
munity where  he  happened  to  be.  An  impression  which 
was  at  least  temporary  was  thus  produced  in  such  cases, 
but  when  he  returned  to  the  same  locality  after  a  time, 
he  found  the  impression  weakened,  and  the  idea  of  sup- 
plementing his  sermons  by  a  printed  treatise  thus  occurred 
to  him. 

The  thought,  once  planted  in  his  mind,  began  to  take 
deep  root.  While  visiting  Father  Gross,  his  faithful  col- 
laborator in  Wilmington,  in  the  spring  of  1876,  he  sug- 
gested that  the  priest  prepare  such  a  treatise.  Father 
Gross  replied: 

"Bishop,  why  don't  you  write  it^" 

Inspiration  flashed  at  once,  and  the  Bishop  replied : 

"While  the  spirit  is  in  me,  give  me  paper  and  ink,  and 
I  will  jot  down  the  first  chapter." 

That  chapter  has  exercised  a  profound  influence  upon 
the  spiritual  lives  of  an  immense  host,  for  it  was  and  is 
the  keynote  of  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers,  of  which  Gib- 
bons lived  to  see  two  million  copies  sold.  It  has  served 
to  clear  the  way  for  missionary  effort  in  distant  dioceses 
throughout  the  world,  even  the  names  of  which  he  did 
not  know  when  he  was  composing  its  appealing  pages. 
He  chose  at  the  outset  of  the  work  thus  begun  under  the 


simple  urging  of  Father  Gross  to  employ  dialogue  for  the 
sake  of  clearness,  citing  as  an  illustration  a  conversation 
between  a  Protestant  minister  and  a  convert  to  the 
Catholic  Church,  of  which  the  following  are  extracts : 

"Minister. — You  cannot  deny  that  the  Roman  Catho- 
lic Church  teaches  gross  errors — the  worship  of  images, 
for  instance. 

"Convert. — I  admit  no  such  charge,  for  I  have  been 
taught  no  such  doctrines. 

"Minister. — But  the  priest  who  instructed  you  did 
not  teach  you  all.  He  held  back  some  points  which  he 
knew  would  be  objectionable  to  you. 

"Convert. — He  withheld  nothing;  for  I  am  in  posses- 
sion of  books  treating  fully  of  all  Catholic  doctrines. 

"Minister. — Deluded  soul !  Don't  you  know  that  in 
Europe  they  are  taught  differently"? 

"Convert. — That  cannot  be,  for  the  Church  teaches 
the  same  creed  all  over  the  world,  and  most  of  the  doc- 
trinal books  which  I  read  were  originally  published  in 

The  text  proceeds: 

"We  cannot  exaggerate  the  offense  of  those  who  thus 
wilfully  malign  the  Church.  There  is  a  commandment 
which  says:  'Thou  shalt  not  bear  false  witness  against 
thy  neighbor.' 

"If  it  is  a  sin  to  bear  false  testimony  against  one  in- 
dividual, how  can  we  characterize  the  crime  of  those  who 
calumniate  three  hundred  millions  of  human  beings,  by 
attributing  to  them  doctrines  and  practises  which  they 
repudiate  and  abhor "?  I  do  not  wonder  that  the  Church  is 
hated  by  those  who  learn  what  she  is  from  her  enemies. 
It  is  natural  for  an  honest  man  to  loathe  an  institution 
whose  history  he  believes  to  be  marked  by  bloodshed, 
crime  and  fraud. 


"Had  I  been  educated  as  they  were,  and  surrounded 
by  an  atmosphere  hostile  to  the  Church,  perhaps  I  should 
be  unfortunate  enough  to  be  breathing  vengeance  against 
her  today,  instead  of  consecrating  my  life  to  her  defence. 

"It  is  not  of  their  hostility  that  I  complain,  but  be- 
cause the  judgment  they  have  formed  of  her  is  based  upon 
the  reckless  assertions  of  her  enemies,  and  not  upon  those 
of  impartial  witnesses. 

"Suppose  that  I  wanted  to  obtain  a  correct  estimate 
of  the  Southern  people,  would  it  be  fair  in  me  to  select, 
as  my  only  sources  of  information,  certain  Northern  and 
Eastern  periodicals  which,  during  our  Civil  War,  were 
bitterly  opposed  to  the  race  and  institutions  of  the  South? 
Those  papers  have  represented  you  as  men  who  always 
appeal  to  the  sword  and  pistol,  instead  of  the  law,  to  vin- 
dicate your  private  grievances.  They  heaped  accusations 
against  you  which  I  will  not  here  repeat.  Instead  of 
taking  these  publications  as  the  basis  of  my  information, 
it  was  my  duty  to  come  among  you ;  to  live  with  you ;  to 
read  your  life  by  studying  your  public  and  private  char- 
acter. This  I  have  done,  and  I  here  cheerfully  bear  wit- 
ness to  your  many  excellent  traits  of  mind  and  heart. 

"Now  I  ask  you  to  give  to  the  Catholic  Church  the 
same  measure  of  fairness  which  you  reasonably  demand 
of  me  when  judging  of  Southern  character.  Ask  not  her 
enemies  what  she  is,  for  they  are  blinded  by  passion;  ask 
not  her  ungrateful,  renegade  children,  for  you  never 
heard  a  son  speaking  well  of  the  mother  whom  he  had 
abandoned  and  despised. 

"Study  her  history  in  the  pages  of  truth.  Examine 
her  creed.  Read  her  authorized  catechisms  and  doctrinal 
books.  You  will  find  them  everywhere  on  the  shelves  of 
booksellers,  in  the  libraries  of  her  clergy,  on  the  tables  of 
Catholic  families. 

"There  is  no  freemasonry  in  the  Catholic  Church;  she 
has  no  secrets  to  keep  back.     She  has  not  one  set  of  doc- 


trines  for  Bishops  and  priests,  and  another  for  the  laity. 
She  has  not  one  creed  for  the  initiated  and  another  for 
outsiders.  Everything  in  the  Catholic  Church  is  open 
and  above  board.  She  has  the  same  doctrines  for  all — 
for  the  Pope  and  the  peasant. 

"Should  not  I  be  better  qualified  to  present  to  you  the 
Church's  creed  than  the  unfriendly  witnesses  whom  I 
have  mentioned  ■?  .  .  . 

"It  is  to  me  a  duty  and  a  labor  of  love  to  speak  the 
truth  concerning  my  venerable  Mother,  so  much  maligned 
in  our  days.  Were  a  tithe  of  the  accusations  which  are 
brought  against  her  true,  I  would  not  be  attached  to  her 
ministry,  nor  even  to  her  communion,  for  a  single  day.  I 
know  these  charges  to  be  false.  The  longer  I  know  her, 
the  more  I  admire  and  venerate  her.  Every  day  she  de- 
velops before  me  new  spiritual  charms. 

"In  coming  to  the  Church,  you  are  not  entering  a 
strange  place,  but  you  are  returning  to  your  Father's 
home.  The  house  and  furniture  may  look  odd  to  you, 
but  it  is  just  the  same  as  your  forefathers  left  it  three 
hundred  years  ago.  In  coming  back  to  the  Church,  you 
worship  where  your  fathers  worshiped  before  you,  you 
kneel  before  the  altar  at  which  they  knelt,  you  receive 
the  Sacraments  which  they  received,  and  respect  the 
authority  of  the  clergy  whom  they  venerated." 

The  preparation  of  subsequent  chapters  of  the  book 
was  crowded  into  the  indefatigable  young  Bishop's  labors. 
He  meditated  upon  them  when  traveling  on  railway  cars 
or  by  other  means,  and  confirmed  upon  his  return  the 
abundant  quotations  and  references  from  the  Bible  and 
other  books  which  he  cited  in  confirmation  of  his  state- 
ments. In  clear,  simple  and  classic  English  he  thus  wrote 
the  principles  of  the  Catholic  religion,  while  replying  in 
detail  to  the  arguments  commonly  urged  against  it. 


No  religious  controversial  book — if  such  it  may  be 
called — was  ever  conceived  in  a  broader  spirit.  It  leaves 
no  sting  with  the  reader,  whatever  be  its  convictions,  and 
as  a  concise  explanation  of  the  Church,  her  history,  doc- 
trines and  mission,  there  is  practically  unanimous  judg- 
ment that  it  has  never  had  an  equal.  One  may  put  down 
the  book  and  say  "I  disagree,"  but  never  "I  do  not  under- 

Its  literary  strength  gave  it  a  permanent  place  in  the 
libraries  of  the  world  almost  immediately  after  its  publi- 
cation, late  in  1876;  priests  found  that  it  said  what  they 
wanted  to  say,  better  than  they  could  say  it  themselves, 
and  its  circulation  in  great  numbers  of  copies  has  ever 
since  been  a  favorite  means  of  reinforcing  the  efforts  of 
the  clergy.  The  work  has  been  translated  into  twelve 
languages.  It  is  probably  true.  Bishop  Shahan  has  said, 
that,  after  the  Bible,  no  religious  book  has  had  so  wide  a 

In  particular,  the  author  defended  with  warmth  the 
assertion  that  the  Catholic  Church  has  always  been  a 
zealous  promoter  of  religious  and  civil  liberty.  Wherever 
encroachments  on  these  rights  of  man  were  perpetrated 
by  individual  adherents  to  her  faith,  he  argued,  the 
wrongs,  far  from  being  sanctioned  by  the  Church,  were 
committed  in  palpable  violation  of  her  authority.  He 
brought  out  the  old  arguments  about  the  Spanish  in- 
quisition and  the  massacre  of  St.  Bartholemew,  of  which 
he  had  heard  not  a  little  in  North  Carolina,  and  discussed 
them  fully  from  the  Catholic  point  of  view. 

Taking  up  the  leading  doctrines  of  the  Church,  he 
gave  a  simple  but  sufficient  explanation  of  each,  dealing 


successively  with  the  Trinity,  the  incarnation,  unity  of 
the  Church,  apostolicity,  perpetuity,  authority,  the 
primacy  of  Peter,  the  supremacy  of  the  Popes,  the  tem- 
poral power,  invocation  of  saints,  the  Blessed  Virgin 
Mary,  sacred  images,  purgatory,  prayers  for  the  dead, 
charges  of  religious  persecution,  the  Holy  Eucharist,  the 
sacrifice  of  the  Mass,  the  use  of  religious  ceremonies  and 
the  Latin  language,  penance,  indulgence  and  extreme 

The  broad  charity  which  shines  through  the  pages  of 
the  book  has  been  perhaps  as  potent  as  its  logic  in  carry- 
ing conviction  to  the  minds  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
readers  throughout  the  world. 

In  composing  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers  Gibbons,  as 
related  by  himself,  tried  to  be  so  clear  and  simple  as  to 
reach  the  feeblest  intelligence,  and  at  the  same  time  suf- 
ficiently deep  and  thorough  to  reach  the  highest.  As  he 
proceeded  with  the  difficult  task,  he  scratched  out  with 
his  pen  long  sentences  or  involved  meanings  and  simpli- 
fied them.  He  was  most  careful  to  discard  every  line 
that  seemed  to  have  a  sting  in  it.  According  to  his  own 
version  in  later  years  of  his  methods  of  composition,  he 
said  to  himself  in  regard  to  a  line  of  that  kind  when  he 
would  come  to  it:  "This  may  create  a  smile,  but  it  has 
no  place  in  a  permanent  work." 

He  submitted  the  manuscript  to  several  critics  before 
publication.  This,  in  his  view,  implied  an  obligation 
to  follow  their  advice  and  he  did  so;  but  he  subsequently 
expressed  the  opmion  that  the  changes  had  not  strength- 
ened the  book ;  probably  indeed,  although  he  did  not  say 
so  in  direct  terms,  he  thought  that  they  weakened  it  con- 


siderably.  Late  in  life  he  expressed  the  view  that  a  spe- 
cial Providence  had  guided  him  in  the  preparation  of  the 

The  book  was  published  in  Baltimore,  a  comparatively 
small  edition  being  issued,  as  in  the  boldest  hopes  enter- 
Itained  for  its  success  there  was  no  thought  of  the  world- 
wide vogue  destined  for  it.  Gibbons  subsequently  said 
that  an  edition  of  five  thousand  copies  was  the  "ultima 
thule"  of  his  expectations  then.  No  one  was  more  sur- 
prised than  he  when  the  first  edition  was  exhausted 
rapidly,  after  the  manner  of  a  popular  novel.  One  im- 
print after  another  was  made  in  increasing  quantities, 
until  the  popularity  which  the  work  attained  came  to  be 
accepted  as  a  baffling  mystery  both  by  the  author  and 
his  personal  friend,  the  publisher,  who  was  sometimes 
at  a  loss  to  supply  the  eager  demand. 

As  the  sales  leaped  from  units  into  thousands  at  a  time, 
Gibbons  found  pleasure  in  the  reports  that  were  made  to 
him  of  the  additional  copies  sold,  and  seemed  to  have  the 
figures  at  his  fingers'  ends.  He  remarked  with  elation 
to  a  friend  who  called  upon  him  one  evening  in  1914  that 
.the  sale  of  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers  had  then  surpassed 
that  of  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin. 

He  was  convinced  of  the  necessity  of  the  work,  partic- 
ularly in  English-speaking  countries  where  the  Catholic 
Church  is  compelled  to  contend  constantly  against  miscon- 
ceptions of  her  doctrines  and  policies.  The  simplicity 
and  clearness  of  the  appeal,  he  felt,  were  essential  to  its 
potency.  It  was  aimed  especially  to  reach  the  average 
man  who,  through  no  fault  of  his  own,  had  absorbed 
and  retained  current  and  often  fanciful  misrepresenta- 


tions  on  the  subject.  It  did  not  occur  to  the  modest 
Bishop  that  his  simplicity  of  style  was  so  limpid  that  hun- 
dreds of  thousands,  bewildered  by  the  doubts  of  theolog- 
ical disputations,  would  turn  to  it  with  relief  as  solving 
their  perplexities. 

The  results  reaped  from  the  work  were  naturally  one 
of  the  deepest  of  Gibbons'  consolations.  Chatting  in  his 
study  one  night  when  he  was  nearly  eighty  years  old,  he 
said  that  he  had  just  received  a  letter  from  a  friend  who 
had  been  converted  to  the  Catholic  Church  "by  one  of  my 

''The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers?"  the  visitor  suggested. 

"Yes,"  he  replied.  "By  the  way,  I  also  have  a  letter 
from  a  friend  in  Italy  who  tells  me  of  the  great  circula- 
tion which  the  book  has  attained  in  his  country." 

"Was  the  writing  of  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers  an 
inspiration?"  the  visitor  asked. 

"I  am  beginning  to  think  that  it  was,"  mused  the  Car- 
dinal, "although  I  had  no  idea  of  it  at  the  time.  I  wrote 
it  rather  reluctantly  as  a  duty  and  not  because  I  felt 
especial  enthusiasm  about  it.  Some  book  was  necessary 
to  correct  the  errors  of  possible  converts  and  I  believed 
that  it  would  be  a  decided  help  to  me  in  my  work.  When 
I  took  it  to  the  publisher,  John  Murphy,  he  estimated  its 
probable  circulation  at  three  thousand  copies.  I  was  the 
most  surprised  person  of  all  over  the  demand  for  it  that 
was  found  to  exist. 

"Of  all  the  things  about  the  book,  one  point  that  grati- 
fies me  most  is  that,  although  it  is  an  explanation  of  the 
Catholic  religion,  there  is  not  one  word  in  it  that  can 
give  offense  to  our  Protestant  brethren.  There  was  orig- 
inally a  reference  that  seemed  to  displease  Episcopalians, 
but  when  my  attention  was  called  to  it  I  promptly  ordered 


it  to  be  expunged.  Had  I  written  the  book  in  Catholic 
Baltimore,  I  might  have  fallen  into  something  of  that 
kind.  But  in  North  Carolina,  where  opinion  was  almost 
unanimously  against  me,  I  was  on  my  good  behavior.  It 
was  fortunate  that  it  was  so." 

The  popularity  of  the  work  and  the  use  of  copies  of  it 
in  great  numbers  by  Bishops  and  priests  as  a  means  of 
presenting  the  tenets  of  the  Catholic  faith  naturally 
caused  a  multitude  of  suggestions  to  flow  in  upon  the 
author.  His  disposition  was  to  accept  these  suggestions, 
even  when  that  involved  the  expansion  of  the  book  be- 
yond its  original  limits.  In  its  inception  it  was  intended 
only  to  set  forth  the  main  doctrines  of  the  Church  and  to 
combat  the  chief  errors  regarding  those  doctrines  which 
were  commonly  held.  In  this  form  the  book  was  compact 
and  unified  and  possessed  an  irresistible  appeal  of  style. 

As  suggestions  were  offered  by  others,  Gibbons  rewrote 
parts  of  some  of  the  original  chapters  and  inserted  other 
chapters  until  the  last  edition  considerably  exceeded  the 
limits  which  he  had  intended  for  the  book  at  first.  The 
effect  was  to  make  it  a  complete  exposition  of  Catholic 
doctrine,  as  compared  with  a  designedly  incomplete  one 
that  had  been  intended  only  to  combat  major  errors.  The 
process  of  addition  also  involved  a  certain  measure  of 
dilution  of  the  original  literary  style,  and  the  book  in  its 
final  form,  while  perhaps  more  useful  for  its  general 
purpose,  cannot  be  said  to  be  an  improvement  on  the  first 
edition  in  literary  strength  and  grace. 

Gibbons  cared  nothing  for  this.  He  seemed  to  be  un- 
moved by  vanity  of  authorship.  As  he  changed  the  book 
from  time  to  time,  he  believed  that  he  was  increasing  the 


harvest  of  souls  which  would  be  reaped  through  its  influ- 
ence, and  this  far  overweighed  any  other  consideration, 
personal  or  otherwise,  which  could  have  appealed  to  him. 

He  devoted  a  great  deal  of  time  and  thought  to  the 
preparation  of  Our  Christian  Heritage^  which  was  pub- 
lished at  the  time  of  the  centennial  of  the  American  Hier- 
archy; and  he  dedicated  it  to  the  memory  of  Archbishop 
Carroll  and  the  American  prelates  and  clergy,  "heirs  of 
his  faith  and  mission."  In  his  first  book  he  had  been  the 
priest  preaching  to  the  people;  but  from  the  pages  of 
Our  Christian  Heritage  shines  the  character  of  citizen  as 
well  as  priest. 

It  may  be  described  in  brief  as  an  argument  in  behalf 
of  Christianity  addressed  to  the  average  busy  man  of  the 
time  accustomed  to  be  guided  by  material  considerations 
in  his  daily  work,  and  doubting,  from  force  of  habit,  con- 
clusions as  to  religion  whose  premises  he  can  not  clearly 
comprehend.  Gibbons  aimed  to  demonstrate  by  means 
of  the  unaided  reason  the  fundamental  truths  underlying 
Christianity  and  he  declared  that  this  was  sufficient, 
though  "they  are  made  still  more  luminous  by  the  light 
of  Christian  revelation."  The  book  is  a  compressed  the- 
ology for  a  cross-section  of  general  humanity.  He  was 
moved  to  write  it,  he  said,  because  The  Faith  of  Our 
Fathers  presupposed  certain  truths — the  existence  of  God, 
free  will,  and  others — and  he  wished  to  show  the  basis 
of  Christian  belief  in  these  doctrines. 

The  author  conceived  Our  Christian  Heritage  as  non- 
sectarian  and  hoped  that  it  would  appeal  to  everybody. 
In  the  introduction  to  it,  he  set  forth: 


(Extract  jrom  •■Our  Cliristian   Heritage") 

^„t-^     '^Tf^  ^iy*<.'<. 

,         "?  JJ-  A^'--^^  f^'"'^    ^*^t    -f....^^ 


"This  book  is  not  polemical.  It  does  not  deal  with  the 
controversies  that  have  agitated  the  Christian  world  since 
the  religious  convulsion  of  the  sixteenth  century.  It  does 
not,  therefore,  aim  at  vindicating  the  claims  of  the  Cath- 
olic Church  as  superior  to  those  of  the  separated  branches 
of  Christianity — a  subject  that  has  already  been  ex- 
haustively treated. 

"It  has  nothing  to  say  against  any  Christian  denomina- 
tion that  still  retains  faith  in  at  least  the  Divine  mission 
of  Jesus  Christ.  On  the  contrary,  I  am  glad  to  acknowl- 
edge that  most  of  the  topics  discussed  in  this  little  volume 
have  often  found,  and  still  find,  able  and  zealous  advo- 
cates in  Protestant  writers.  And  far  from  despising  or 
rejecting  their  support,  I  would  gladly  hold  out  to  them 
the  right  hand  of  fellowship,  so  long  as  they  unite  with 
us  in  striking  at  the  common  foe." 

Addressing  those  who  rejected  Christianity  upon  the 
ground  of  doubts  of  its  physical  evidence,  he  wrote: 

"While  avowing  their  ignorance  of  many  of  the  physi- 
cal laws  that  govern  the  universe  and  that  regulate  even 
their  own  bodies  which  they  see  and  feel,  they  will  insist 
on  knowing  everything  regarding  the  incomprehensible 
Deity  and  His  attributes.  In  a  word,  they  will  admit 
mysteries  in  the  material  world  that  surrounds  them ;  but 
mysteries  in  the  supernatural  world  they  will  not  accept. 
They  will  deny  any  revealed  truth  that  does  not  fall 
within  the  range  of  human  experience  and  that  is  not  in 
accordance  with  the  discovered  laws  of  nature.  But  to 
reject  a  dogma  on  such  grounds  cannot  be  approved  by 
philosophy  or  sound  sense." 

Enumerating  the  fruits  of  Christian  civilization,  he 
contrasted  them  effectively  with  conditions  among  pagan 
peoples.    He  showed  that  Christianity  has  "delivered  us 


from  idolatry  and  led  us  to  the  worship  of  the  one  true 
and  living  God" ;  that  it  has  "brought  not  only  light  to 
our  intellects,  but  also  peace  to  our  hearts,  that  peace 
which  springs  from  the  knowledge  of  the  truth  and  the 
hope  of  eternal  life" ;  that  Christ  "has  given  benediction 
to  the  home  by  proclaiming  the  unity,  the  sanctity  and 
the  indissolubility  of  marriage" ;  that  hospitals  and  asy- 
lums, previously  unknown,  have  sprung  up  in  every  Chris- 
tian land;  that  "human  slavery  has  melted  away  before 
the  effulgent  rays  of  the  Gospel";  that  the  dignity  of 
labor  has  been  proclaimed  and  that  the  number  of  wars 
has  been  diminished  and  their  horrors  have  been  reduced. 

The  last  part  of  Our  Christian  Heritage  is  an  applica- 
tion of  the  general  vindication  of  Christianity  set  forth 
in  the  first  part.  Chapters  deal  with  the  "Dignity, 
Rights  and  Duties  of  the  Laboring  Classes,"  "Religion, 
the  Essential  Basis  of  Civil  Society,"  "The  Religious 
Element  in  our  American  Civilization,"  and  "The  Dan- 
gers That  Threaten  our  American  Civilization." 

In  the  chapter  on  labor.  Gibbons  took  another  oppor- 
tunity to  defend  energetically  the  right  of  workingmen 
to  organize  "for  their  mutual  protection  and  benefit." 
Defending  this  view,  he  wrote : 

"Labor  has  its  sacred  rights  as  well  as  its  dignity. 
Paramount  among  the  rights  of  the  laboring  classes,  is 
their  privilege  to  organize,  or  to  form  themselves  into 
societies  for  their  mutual  protection  and  benefit.  It  is  in 
accordance  with  natural  right  that  those  who  have  one 
common  interest  should  unite  together  for  its  promotion. 
Our  modern  labor  associations  are  the  legitimate  succes- 
sors of  the  ancient  guilds  of  England. 

"In  our  days  there  is  a  universal  tendency  towards 


organization  in  every  department  of  trade  and  business. 
In  union  there  is  strength  in  the  physical,  moral  and  social 
world;  and  just  as  the  power  and  majesty  of  our  Repub- 
lic are  derived  from  the  political  union  of  the  several 
States,  so  do  men  clearly  perceive  that  the  healthy  com- 
bination of  human  forces  in  the  economic  world  can 
accomplish  results  which  could  not  be  effected  by  any 
individual  efforts.  Throughout  the  United  States  and 
Great  Britain  there  is  to-day  a  continuous  network  of 
S3mdicates  and  trusts,  of  companies  and  partnerships,  so 
that  every  operation  from  the  construction  of  a  leviathan 
steamship  to  the  manufacture  of  a  needle  is  controlled  by 
a  corporation. 

"When  corporations  thus  combine,  it  is  quite  natural 
that  mechanics  and  laborers  should  follow  their  example. 
It  would  be  as  unjust  to  deny  to  workingmen  the  right 
to  band  together  because  of  the  abuses  incident  to  such 
combinations,  as  to  withhold  the  same  right  from  capital- 
ists because  they  sometimes  unwarrantably  seek  to  crush 
or  absorb  weaker  rivals. 

"The  public  recognition  among  us  of  the  right  to  or- 
ganize implies  a  confidence  in  the  intelligence  and  hon- 
esty of  the  masses;  it  affords  them  an  opportunity  of 
training  themselves  in  the  school  of  self-government,  and 
in  the  art  of  self-discipline;  it  takes  away  from  them 
every  excuse  and  pretext  for  the  formation  of  dangerous 
societies;  it  exposes  to  the  light  of  public  scrutiny  the 
constitution  and  laws  of  the  association  and  the  delibera- 
tions of  the  members;  it  inspires  them  with  a  sense  of  their 
responsibility  as  citizens  and  with  a  laudable  desire  of 
meriting  the  approval  of  their  fellow-citizens.  Tt  is 
better,'  as  Matthew  Arnold  observes,  'that  the  body  of 
the  people  with  all  its  faults,  should  act  for  itself,  and 
control  its  own  affairs,  than  that  it  should  be  set  aside 
as  ignorant  and  incapable,  and  have  its  affairs  managed 
for  it  by  a  so-called  superior  class.'  " 


While  defending  the  right  of  workingmen  to  organize, 
Gibbons  did  not  neglect  to  add  that  they  must  banish 
extremists  from  their  ranks,  saying: 

"They  should  therefore  be  careful  to  exclude  from 
their  ranks  that  turbulent  element  composed  of  men  who 
boldly  preach  the  gospel  of  anarchy,  socialism  and  nihil- 
ism; those  land-pirates  who  are  preying  on  the  industry, 
commerce  and  trade  of  the  country;  whose  mission  is  to 
pull  down  and  not  to  build  up ;  who  instead  of  upholding 
the  hands  of  the  government  that  protects  them,  are  bent 
on  its  destruction,  and  instead  of  blessing  the  mother 
that  opens  her  arms  to  welcome  them,  insult  and  defy 
her.  If  such  revolutionists  had  their  way,  despotism 
would  supplant  legitimate  authority,  license  would  reign 
without  liberty,  and  gaunt  poverty  would  stalk  through- 
out the  land." 

He  expressed  his  disapproval  of  boycotting  and  held 
that  "experience  has  shown  that  strikes  are  a  drastic  and 
at  best  a  very  questionable  remedy  for  the  redress  of  the 
laborers'  grievances.  They  paralyze  industry;  they  often 
foment  fierce  passions,  and  lead  to  the  destruction  of 
property;  and,  above  all,  they  result  in  inflicting  grievous 
injury  on  the  laborer  himself  by  keeping  him  in  enforced 
idleness,  during  which  his  mind  is  clouded  by  discontent 
while  brooding  over  the  situation,  and  his  family  not 
infrequently  suffers  from  the  want  of  even  the  necessaries 
of  life." 

He  presented  an  earnest  plea  for  the  arbitration  of  dis- 
putes between  capital  and  labor,  urging  that  it  was  "con- 
ciliatory and  constructive"  as  distinguished  from  the  ag- 
gression and  destructiveness  of  strikes. 


He  also  warned  labor  that  some  forms  of  discontent 
were  to  be  shunned.    He  wrote : 

"While  honestly  striving  to  better  your  condition,  be 
content  with  your  station  in  life,  and  do  not  yield  to  an 
inordinate  desire  of  abandoning  your  present  occupation 
for  what  is  popularly  regarded  as  a  more  attractive  avoca- 
tion. Remember  that  while  the  learned  professions  are 
over-crowded,  there  is  always  a  demand  for  skilled  and 
unskilled  labor,  and  that  it  is  far  better  to  succeed  in 
mechanical  or  manual  work,  than  to  fail  in  professional 
life.  Be  not  over  eager  to  amass  wealth,  for  they  who 
are  anxious  to  become  rich,  'fall  into  temptations  and 
into  the  snares  of  the  Devil,  and  into  many  unprofitable 
and  hurtful  desires  which  drown  men  in  destruction  and 

"A  feverish  ambition  to  accumulate  a  fortune,  which 
may  be  called  our  national  distemper,  is  incompatible 
with  peace  of  mind.  Moderate  means  with  a  contented 
spirit  are  preferable  to  millions  without  it.  If  poverty 
has  its  inconveniences  and  miseries,  wealth  has  often 
greater  ones." 

Gibbons  was  expounding  a  favorite  theme  in  his  chap- 
ter on  "Religion,  the  Essential  Basis  of  Civil  Society." 
He  set  forth  that  he  was  using  the  word  religion 

"in  its  broadest  and  most  comprehensive  sense  as  embody- 
ing the  existence  of  God,  His  infinite  power  and  knowl- 
edge; His  providence  over  us;  the  recognition  of  Divine 
law;  the  moral  freedom  and  responsibility  of  man;  the 
distinction  between  good  and  evil ;  the  duty  of  rendering 
our  homage  to  God  and  justice  and  charity  to  our  neigh- 
bor ;  and  finally  the  existence  of  a  future  state  of  rewards 
and  punishments." 


The  book  proceeds: 

"What  motives,  religion  apart,  are  forcible  enough  to 
compel  legislators,  rulers,  and  magistrates  to  be  equitable 
and  impartial  in  their  decisions'?  What  guarantee  have 
we  that  they  will  not  be  biased  by  prejudice  and  self- 
interest?  Will  a  thirst  for  fame  and  a  desire  for  public 
approbation  prove  a  sufficient  incentive  for  them  to  do 
right?  How  often  has  not  this  very  love  of  glory  and 
esteem  impelled  them  to  trample  on  the  rights  and  lib- 
erties of  the  many,  in  order  to  win  the  approbation  of  a 
few  sycophants,  just  as  Roboam  oppressed  his  subjects 
that  he  might  be  admired  and  praised  by  his  young  cour- 
tiers, and  as  Alexander  enslaved  nations  to  receive  the 
applause  of  the  fickle  Athenians. 

"Would  you  vote  for  a  presidential  candidate  that 
avowed  atheistic  principles'?  I  am  sure  you  would  not. 
You  would  instinctively  mistrust  him ;  for  an  unbelieving 
President  would  ignore  the  eternal  laws  of  justice,  and 
the  eternal  laws  of  justice  are  the  basis  of  civil  legisla- 

"...  Religion  is  anterior  to  society  and  more  endur- 
ing than  governments;  it  is  the  focus  of  all  social  virtues, 
the  basis  of  public  morals,  the  most  powerful  instrument 
in  the  hands  of  legislators ;  it  is  stronger  than  self-interest, 
more  awe-inspiring  than  civil  threats,  more  universal  than 
honor,  more  active  than  love  of  country, — the  surest 
guarantee  that  rulers  can  have  of  the  fidelity  of  their 
subjects,  and  that  subjects  can  have  of  the  justice  of  their 
rulers;  it  is  the  curb  of  the  mighty,  the  defence  of  the 
weak,  the  consolation  of  the  afflicted,  the  covenant  of  God 
with  man;  and,  in  the  language  of  Homer,  it  is  'the  golden 
chain  which  suspends  the  earth  from  the  throne  of  the 
eternal.'  " 

Gibbons  pointed  out  in  Our  Christian  Heritage  that 
the  Declaration  of  Independence  contains  a  devout  recog- 


nition  of  God  and  His  overruling  providence.  "God's 
holy  name,"  he  wrote,  "greets  us  in  the  opening  para- 
graph and  is  piously  invoked  in  the  last  sentence  of  the 
Declaration;  and  thus  it  is  at  the  same  time  the  corner- 
stone and  the  keystone  of  this  great  monument  of  free- 

As  to  the  Federal  Constitution,  he  felt  no  concern  be- 
cause the  name  of  God  was  not  imprinted  there, 

"so  long  as  the  constitution  itself  is  interpreted  by  the 
light  of  Christian  revelation.  .  .  .  Far  better  for  the 
nation  that  His  spirit  should  animate  our  laws;  that  He 
should  be  invoked  in  our  courts  of  justice;  that  He  should 
be  worshiped  in  our  citadels  on  Thanksgiving  Day  and 
that  His  guidance  should  be  implored  in  the  opening  of 
our  congressional  proceedings." 

Washington's  faith  in  God  and  his  frequent  references 
to  the  Supreme  Being  in  his  public  addresses  and  state 
papers  were  cited  by  Gibbons  in  the  same  connection. 
He  remarked  that  the  oath  taken  by  every  President  of 
the  United  States  before  he  assumed  the  duties  of  office 
implies  a  belief  in  God.    Gibbons  added : 

"In  one  century  we  have  grown  from  three  millions  to 
sixty  millions.^  We  have  grown  up,  not  as  distinct,  in- 
dependent and  conflicting  communities,  but  as  one  cor- 
porate body,  breathing  the  same  atmosphere  of  freedom, 
governed  by  the  same  laws,  enjoying  the  same  political 
rights.  I  see  in  all  this  a  wonderful  manifestation  of  the 
humanizing  and  elevating  influence  of  Christian  civiliza- 
tion. We  receive  from  abroad  people  of  various  nations, 
races  and  tongues,  habits  and  temperament,  who  speedily 
become  assimilated  to  the  human  mass,  and  who  form  one 



homogeneous  society.  What  is  the  secret  of  our  social 
stability  and  order*?  It  results  from  wise  laws,  based  on 
Christian  principles,  and  which  are  the  echo  of  God's 
eternal  law. 

"What  is  the  cohesive  power  that  makes  us  one  body 
politic  out  of  so  many  heterogeneous  elements'?  It  is  the 
religion  of  Christ.  We  live  as  brothers  because  we  recog- 
nize the  brotherhood  of  humanity — one  Father  in  heaven, 
one  origin,  one  destiny." 

He  enumerated  the  "dangers  that  threaten  our  Ameri- 
can civilization"  (writing  in  the  year  1889)  as  follows: 

"We  are  confronted  by  five  great  evils — Mormonism 
and  divorce,  which  strike  at  the  root  of  the  family  and 
society;  an  imperfect  and  vicious  system  of  education, 
which  undermines  the  religion  of  our  youth ;  the  desecra- 
tion of  the  Christian  Sabbath,  which  tends  to  obliterate  in 
our  adult  population  the  salutary  fear  of  God  and  the 
homage  that  we  owe  Him;  the  gross  and  systematic  elec- 
tion frauds;  and  lastly  the  unreasonable  delay  in  carrying 
into  effect  the  sentences  of  our  criminal  courts,  and  the 
numerous  subterfuges  by  which  criminals  evade  the  exe- 
cution of  the  law.  Our  insatiable  greed  for  gain,  the  co- 
existence of  colossal  wealth  with  abject  poverty,  the  ex- 
travagance of  the  rich,  the  discontent  of  the  poor,  our 
eager  and  impetuous  rushing  through  life,  and  every  other 
moral  and  social  delinquency,  may  be  traced  to  one  of 
the  five  radical  vices  enumerated  above." 

Mormonism  in  the  aspects  which  once  gave  offense  to 
the  nation  has  been  substantially  modified  since  Our 
Christian  Heritage  was  written,  but  the  Cardinal's  vigor- 
ous arguments  and  marshaling  of  statistics  to  show  the 
evils  of  divorce  were  more  needed  at  the  time  of  his 
death  even  than  when  he  penned  the  pages  of  the  book. 


As  to  education,  he  expounded  the  Catholic  view  that 
religious  instruction  ought  to  go  hand  in  hand  with  secu- 
lar instruction.  He  denied  that  the  instruction  given 
once  a  week  in  Sunday  schools,  "though  productive  of 
very  beneficial  results"  was  sufficient  to  supply  the  re- 
ligious wants  of  children.  "By  what  principle  of  jus- 
tice," he  asked,  "can  you  store  their  minds  with  earthly 
knowledge  for  several  hours  each  day,  while  their  hearts, 
which  require  far  more  cultivation,  must  be  content  with 
the  paltry  allowance  of  a  few  weekly  lessons'?" 

The  subject  of  Sunday  observance  was  much  discussed 
in  the  year  1889,  on  account  of  the  considerable  varia- 
tion of  methods  in  that  respect  in  rural  communities  and 
in  American  cities.  The  extreme  laxity,  almost  amount- 
ing to  non-observance,  which  then  prevailed  in  a  num- 
ber of  cities  was  Gibbons'  reason  for  the  stress  which  he 
put  upon  the  subject. 

There  were  gross  election  frauds  in  America  in  those 
days  before  public  opinion  had  been  aroused  on  the  sub- 
ject, and  before  the  safeguards  of  the  secret  ballot  had 
been  perfected.  Gibbons  described  those  frauds  "as  the 
gravest  menace  to  free  institutions."  His  warning 
against  the  intolerable  delays  in  many  of  the  processes  of 
courts  of  justice  was  one  which  he  repeated  not  infre- 
quently in  public  addresses. 

In  the  midst  of  one  of  the  busiest  periods  of  his  life, 
Gibbons  found  time  to  write  his  third  book,  The  Ambas- 
sador of  Christ.  Though  he  was  often  hurried  in  this 
task  by  other  duties,  his  powers  of  mind  enabled  him  to 
concentrate  on  it  in  the  intervals  of  interruptions.  The 
title  is  taken  from  the  twentieth  verse  of  the  fifth  chapter 


of  II  Corinthians:  "For  Christ  we  are  ambassadors;  God, 
as  it  were,  exhorting  by  us."  It  is  a  book  for  priests, 
embodying  the  experiences  and  views  of  a  man  who  had 
achieved  remarkable  results  in  developing  other  men  for 
the  labors  of  the  ministry. 

The  origin  of  The  Ambassador  of  Christ  was  an  essay 
on  the  vocation  of  the  priesthood  originally  intended  for 
a  magazine.  Gibbons  found  it  too  long  and  divided  it 
into  two  parts;  these  parts  also  seemed  too  long  and  he 
divided  each  of  them  into  two  more  parts.  Finally  the 
idea  came  to  him:  "I  will  write  a  book  on  the  subject"; 
and  he  proceeded  to  the  task. 

He  pointed  out  in  its  pages  that  it  was  doubtful  if  any 
age  or  country  ever  presented  a  more  inviting  field  for 
missionary  labor  than  the  United  States,  Catholic  pas- 
tors here  had  a  free  opportunity  for  their  spiritual  efforts. 
"No  military  satrap  or  state  functionary  is  permitted  to 
enter  our  churches  in  the  capacity  of  official  censor  to 
arrest,  fine  or  imprison  a  minister  of  the  Gospel  for  his 
conscientious  utterances  in  vindication  of  social  morals 
and  in  denunciation  of  official  corruption."  He  set  forth 
reasons  for  the  view  which  he  often  expressed  that  Ameri- 
cans were  fundamentally  a  religious  people,  emphatically 
rejecting  the  opinion  of  those  who  characterized  them  as 
a  nation  so  absorbed  in  trade  and  commerce,  in  agricul- 
ture and  politics  as  to  give  scarcely  a  thought  to  eternal 
truths.  A  people  having  only  slight  regard  for  Chris- 
tianity, he  held,  would  not  have  spent  millions  annually 
in  the  erection  of  churches  and  in  the  maintenance  of 
home  and  foreign  missions. 

The  natural  virtues  that  are  the  indispensable  basis 


of  supernatural  life,  he  maintained,  were  possessed  in  a 
marked  degree  by  the  American  people.  They  were  gifted 
and  intelligent,  self-poised  and  deliberate,  of  industrious 
and  temperate  habits,  frank,  moral  and  ingenuous.  They 
had  a  deep  sense  of  justice  and  fair  play;  were  brave 
and  generous,  usually  showing  the  courage  of  their  con- 
victions; and,  with  all  this,  were  law-abiding  as  a  whole. 

While  the  Catholic  Church,  he  showed,  accommodated 
herself  to  every  form  of  government,  she  had  a  special 
adaptability  to  the  American  political  system  and  to  the 
genius  of  the  people.  As  the  Church  was  the  great  con- 
servative force  of  society  the  world  over,  he  took  the 
ground  that  her  influence  was  particularly  necessary  in  a 
country  of  constitutional  freedom,  where  there  would  be 
at  times  a  tendency  to  extremes. 

The  main  topics  discussed  in  The  Ambassador  of 
Christ  include  the  Divine  vocation  of  the  ministry,  the 
duties  of  teachers  to  pupils,  and  of  pupils  to  teachers; 
the  traits  which  make  a  successful  priest,  and  the  virtues 
and  the  accomplishments  which  he  ought  to  exemplify. 
He  urged  that  priests  should  go  out  among  their  people, 
declaring  that  the  visitation  of  the  sick  and  distressed  was 
the  touchstone  of  apostolic  zeal  and  charity.  In  particu- 
lar, he  advised  attention  to  the  young;  and  he  paid  a 
beautiful  tribute  to  the  Christian  mother. 

A  reflection  of  his  own  deep  and  constant  study  of  the 
Scriptures  is  found  in  a  chapter  on  that  subject,  in  which 
he  urged  with  particular  forcefulness  the  necessity  of  inti- 
mate communion  with  the  Book  of  Books.  He  took 
strong  ground  in  favor  of  congregational  singing,  ex- 
pressing the  belief  that  Charles  Wesley  had  accomplished 


as  much  in  the  cause  of  Methodism  by  his  hymns  as 
John  Wesley  had  effected  by  preaching. 

He  was  particularly  earnest  in  exhorting  preparation 
for  the  duties  of  the  ministry.  Learning  he  pronounced 
essential  for  a  priest.  Regarding  the  argument  some- 
times cited  that  the  Apostles,  except  St.  Paul,  were  illit- 
erate men,  he  answered  that  apart  from  their  spiritual  in- 
spiration they  were  far  from  being  deficient  in  theological 
knowledge.  They  exhibited  a  marked  familiarity  with 
the  ancient  prophecies;  and  did  they  not  study  divinity 
for  three  years  at  its  source  *?  Since  their  day^  he  pointed 
out,  education  had  become  far  more  generally  diffused; 
and  the  priest  should  keep  pace  with  the  trend  of  modern 
thought  in  order  to  make  himself  an  effective  unit  in  the 
world  around  him.  He  insisted  upon  the  need  of  the  pov- 
erty of  the  priesthood,  citing  Christ  as  the  model. 

His  keen  interest  and  practical  experience  in  the  man- 
agement of  parish  schools  were  reflected  in  his  advice  to 
the  clergy  on  that  subject.  He  exhorted  pastors  to  see 
that  "next  to  God,  their  country  should  hold  the  strong- 
est place  in  the  affections  of  the  children."  Familiar 
lessons  should  be  incorporated  in  the  textbooks,  incul- 
cating reverence  for  American  political  institutions  and 
embodying  a  knowledge  of  the  duties  and  rights  of  the 
citizen.  He  recommended  the  public  reading  in  the 
school  room,  at  intervals,  of  the  Declaration  of  Independ- 
ence and  the  Constitution,  as  being  especially  profitable 

Not  only  in  his  life,  but  in  his  literary  work,  Gibbons 
was  stamped  as  a  mentor  of  priests.  The  Faith  of  Our 
Fathers  is  their  best  means  of  presenting  the  Catholic 


faith  to  persons  whose  religious  life  is  weakening,  or  to 
prospective  converts.  The  Atnbassador  of  Christ  is,  in 
its  essentials,  a  textbook  for  the  clergy  and  since  its  pub- 
lication it  has  been  used  as  a  guide  by  many  priests  in 
the  English-speaking  world. 

Gibbons'  Discourses  and  Sermons  are  a  collection  of 
fifty-five  of  the  principal  pulpit  addresses  which  he  made 
in  the  course  of  his  life.  When  he  issued  them  in  1908, 
he  had  reached  the  age  of  seventy-four  years,  and  they 
embrace  therefore  the  substance  of  the  entire  message  as 
a  preacher  which  he  had  undertaken  to  deliver.  They 
have  had  a  large  circulation  and  have  brought  comfort 
to  thousands  of  Christians,  including  a  great  number  who 
do  not  accept  the  Catholic  faith. 

The  Retrospect  of  Fifty  Years^  in  two  volumes,  is,  to  a 
large  extent,  a  collection  of  his  previous  writings  in  re- 
views and  magazines  and  some  of  his  addresses  and  ser- 
mons delivered  upon  public  occasions,  such  as  church 
anniversaries  and  conventions.  They  include  his  diary 
of  the  Vatican  Council,  extracts  from  which  were  printed 
in  the  Catholic  World  at  the  time  of  that  gathering,  of 
which,  when  the  Retrospect  was  issued,  he  was  the  only 
survivor.  In  general  the  subjects  covered  are  Church 
history  and  political  problems,  an  epitome  of  his  versa- 
tile labors.  His  faith  in  America  was  undimmed,  as 
shown  by  the  following  extract  from  the  introduction  to 
the  book: 

"There  are  few  Americans  living  now  who  can  remem- 
ber the  things  which  I  can.  I  followed  Mr.  Lincoln's 
dead  body  in  procession  when  it  was  brought  to  this  city ; 
I  have  seen  every  President  since  his  death,  and  have 


known  most  of  them  personally;  I  was  a  grown  man  and 
a  priest  during  the  Civil  War  when  it  seemed  as  if  our 
country  were  to  be  permanently  divided.  Very  few  peo- 
ple now  living  have  .seen  the  country  in  such  distress  as 
I  have  seen  it.  But  I  have  lived,  thank  God,  to  see  it  in 
wonderful  prosperity  and  to  behold  it  grown  into  one  of 
the  great  powers  of  the  earth. 

"Younger  men  may  tremble  for  the  future  of  this 
country,  but  I  can  have  nothing  but  hope  when  I  think 
what  we  have  already  passed  through,  for  I  can  see  no 
troubles  in  the  future  which  could  equal,  much  less  sur- 
pass, those  which  have  afflicted  us  in  bygone  days.  If 
only  the  American  people  will  hold  fast  to  that  instru- 
ment which  has  been  bequeathed  to  them  as  the  palladium 
of  their  liberties — the  Constitution  of  the  United  States, 
— and  fear  and  distrust  the  man  who  would  touch  that 
ark  with  profane  hands,  the  permanence  of  our  institu- 
tions is  assured. 

"In  my  time  I  have  seen  multitudes  of  Europeans 
seeking  this  shore  in  search  of  liberty  and  hope.  The 
men  who  were  middle  aged  when  I  was  young,  doubted 
and  feared  whereunto  this  might  grow;  but  I  have  seen 
men  of  foreign  birth  become  one  with  us,  and  I  think  it 
no  more  than  justice  that  I  should  call  the  attention  of 
my  countrymen  to  the  reason. 

"The  same  power  which  welded  the  Latin,  Gaul, 
Frank,  Briton  and  Norman  into  the  nation  of  France; 
which  welded  the  Briton,  Saxon,  Dane  and  Norman  into 
the  nation  of  England,  has  been  present  among  us  and 
has  again  exercised  its  benign  influence  in  welding  divers 
races  into  one  people:  That  power  is  the  Catholic 
Church.  If  there  do  not  now  lie  over  against  each  other 
in  this  country  hostile  nationalities  with  different  lan- 
guages, different  points  of  view  and  different  aspirations, 
it  is  because  those  who  have  come  to  us,  whatever  may 
have  been  their  nationality,  have  for  the  most  part  had 


one  common  characteristic — they  have  been  Catholic 

"When  I  was  young,  men  feared  the  Catholic  Church 
because  they  thought  her  foreign  and  un-American.  Yet 
I  have  lived  to  see  their  children  and  their  children's 
children  acknowledge  that  if  the  different  nations  which 
have  come  to  our  shores  have  been  united  into  one  people, 
and  if  today  there  is  an  American  people,  it  is  largely  ow- 
ing to  the  cohesive  and  consolidating  influence  of  the 
Christian  religion  of  our  ancestors. 

"But  again,  many  men  once  amongst  us  feared  the 
Catholic  Church  because  they  thought  her  opposed  to 
liberty;  yet  if  they  had  read  history,  even  superficially, 
they  would  have  known  that  no  liberty  which  they  pos- 
sessed has  come  to  them  except  through  the  agency  of  that 
religion  which  molded  our  barbarian  ancestors  into  the 
civilized  nations  of  Europe.  But  for  her  there  would 
have  been  no  civilization  today,  and  without  civilization 
there  could  have  been  no  liberty. 

"Nor  has  the  Church  affected  those  only  who  have 
come  to  these  shores  and  brought  them  in  contact  with 
American  ideals.  She  has  attracted  to  her  communion 
multitudes  of  the  native  born,  as  she  does  wherever  she 
is  free  to  preach  the  Gospel ;  for  she  cannot  speak  to  any 
man  or  woman  of  European  descent  without  awakening 
in  his  or  her  mind  the  echoes  of  the  faith  of  our  fathers ; 
for  that  is  the  faith  the  Church  teaches.  Her  faith  is  the 
faith  of  the  fathers,  not  alone  of  the  immigrants,  but 
also  of  the  native  born.  For  centuries  all  our  fathers 
were  born  to  her  in  Holy  Baptism  and  died  in  her  bosom." 


The  personality  of  Gibbons  was  a  never-ending  theme 
among  those  who  knew  him.  It  was  not  only  one  of  the 
most  strongly  marked  that  was  possessed  by  any  con- 
spicuous leader  of  his  time;  it  was  also  one  of  the  most 
fascinating  and  versatile. 

No  man  probably  ever  appeared  in  more  different  roles 
with  the  same  appearance  of  equal  ease.  This  amounted 
almost  to  causing  the  equivalent  of  an  impression  that 
he  was  several  different  men  in  one  and  could  transform 
himself  from  one  to  another  by  mere  thought. 

The  extreme  mobility  of  his  countenance  contributed 
both  to  the  appearance  and  the  reality  of  his  versatility. 
His  features  seldom  seemed  to  be  in  precisely  the  same 
alignment  on  any  two  occasions.  The  difference  might 
be  slight  or  marked  at  various  times,  but  there  was  no 
mistaking  the  fact  that  a  difference  existed.  He  was  the 
despair  of  photographers,  who  could  never  obtain  two 
views  of  him  that  were  exactly  alike,  and  of  painters  and 
sculptors,  for  whom  he  did  not  retain  a  fixed  expression 
long  enough  for  them  to  reproduce  it  to  their  own  satis- 
faction. He  was  not  merely  a  man  of  numerous  moods, 
but  seemed  to  have  an  infinity  of  them. 

In  the  blend  of  home  life  and  work  in  his  archiepisco- 

pal  residence  his  many-sided  character  was  abundantly 



in  evidence.  During  about  fifteen  hours  of  every  day 
he  was  constantly  occupied,  and  his  endurance  was  a  baf- 
fling manifestation  to  those  who  were  aware  that  his 
health  was  not  of  the  best.  His  activity  continued  with 
only  slight  impairment  up  to  the  time  of  his  last  illness. 
Even  beyond  the  age  of  eighty  he  accomplished  more  than 
most  men  in  their  prime,  although  the  gradually  increas- 
ing effort  which  was  required  to  do  this  became  apparent. 

He  accounted  for  his  own  vital  force  by  saying  that  it 
was  due  to  "regular  habits,  consistent  diet,  plenty  of 
fresh  air  and  periodical  exercise  of  the  mind  and  body." 
Another  cause  was  his  habit  of  moderation,  for  he  exem- 
plified to  a  marked  degree  the  Greek  motto  "nothing  too 
much."  Still  another  was  an  habitual  optimism  and 
cheerfulness,  the  effects  of  which  were  apparent  in  slow- 
ing up  the  decline  which  age  might  otherwise  have 
brought.  Always  he  was  looking  ahead  to  something  to 
be  done  that  was  worth  doing,  and  he  undertook  nothing 
without  a  buoyant  belief  that  he  would  succeed.  His 
mind  and  nervous  system  were  constantly  stimulated  by 
this  process  of  courageous  anticipation. 

One  physical  gift  of  immense  value  to  him  was  the 
fact  that  his  nerves  appeared  to  be  under  complete  con- 
trol at  nearly  all  times.  His  habits  of  thought  and  ac- 
tion were  steady,  consistent  and  logical,  rather  than  tem- 
peramental, .although  at  rare  intervals  a  vein  of  the 
temperamental  was  evident.  His  firm  and  penetrating 
but  kindly  gaze  reflected  the  solidity  and  alert  poise  of 
his  mind.  It  was  virtually  impossible  to  disconcert  him 
by  surprise  or  any  other  artifice. 

His  habit  of  being  busily  occupied  in  a  great  variety 


of  duties  diverted  his  mind  from  his  physical  defects. 
Notwithstanding  this,  he  fell  into  a  habit,  which  neces- 
sity imposed  early  in  life,  of  taking  the  best  care  of  his 
general  physical  condition  and  of  undergoing  no  risks, 
with  the  single  exception  of  prolonged  exertion,  which 
might  affect  it  adversely. 

The  climate  of  Baltimore,  though  on  the  whole  pleas- 
ant and  salubrious,  is  changeable  because  the  city  is  on 
an  isothermal  line  where  the  characteristics  of  the  weather 
in  the  northern  states  and  the  southern  states  blend.  This 
involves  the  necessity  of  care  in  the  matter  of  dress  to  the 
residents  of  the  city  and  Gibbons  had  his  own  ideas  about 
the  attire  which  suited  the  climate.  In  cold  weather  he 
never  "bundled  up,"  no  matter  what  the  temperature. 
When  he  was  in  the  prime  of  life,  he  was  accustomed  to 
wear  a  medium-weight  overcoat  in  winter  and  omitted 
all  special  protection  of  the  neck  and  throat.  Sometimes 
he  wore  no  gloves  out  of  doors  in  the  cold  months,  but 
occasionally  appeared  in  comparatively  thin  ones  of  kid. 
He  disliked  to  wear  overshoes  and  was  accustomed  to  take 
long  tramps  in  the  snow  without  them,  but  if  the  pave- 
ments were  slushy  or  unusually  damp  from  rain  he  would 
sometimes  wear  a  pair  of  half-rubbers  to  prevent  the  soles 
of  his  feet  from  becoming  wet. 

In  his  walks  he  appeared  in  a  suit  of  the  plain  black 
cloth  which  priests  wear,  of  good  but  cheap  material  and 
without  distinctiveness  of  any  kind.  The  only  marks  of 
dress  to  indicate  his  rank  were  the  touch  of  red  at  the 
throat  and  the  red  zucchetto,  the  rim  of  which  showed 
below  the  back  of  his  hat.  For  many  years  he  was  ac- 
customed to  wear  a  silk  hat  on  most  of  his  walks,  or  in 


summer  a  straw  hat  of  the  somber  color  used  by  Ameri- 
can clergymen;  but  in  later  years  he  was  partial  to  the 
broad-brimmed,  black  felt  hat  with  a  round,  low  crown, 
which  many  Bishops  and  priests  wear  in  Europe,  and 
some  in  the  United  States. 

His  customary  attire  at  home  was  a  black  cassock  and 
a  cape  edged  with  red.  Only  rarely  did  he  wear  a  cassock 
entirely  of  red.  In  the  privacy  of  his  study  his  form  was 
concealed  by  a  dressing  gown.  He  wished  to  wear  light 
clothing  as  a  rule  indoors,  and  avoided  overheating  his 
residence  in  winter,  although  he  was  careful  to  seek  an 
even  temperature  in  the  house  at  all  times. 

So  regular  were  his  habits  that  a  priest  of  his  house- 
hold once  remarked  that  "the  clock  in  the  residence  could 
be  set  by  the  time  when  the  Cardinal  rises  and  when  he 
goes  to  bed."  This  was  also  true,  to  a  large  extent,  of 
some  of  the  other  divisions  of  time  into  which  he  sepa- 
rated the  day's  activities. 

Every  morning  he  arose  at  six  o'clock.  His  bedroom 
was  of  the  simplest.  It  contained  a  walnut  bed,  a  dress- 
ing table,  a  wardrobe  and  a  chest  of  drawers.  For  years 
its  appearance  remained  unchanged.  So  averse  was  the 
Cardinal  to  innovations  in  personal  habits  that  he  con- 
tinued to  use  an  old-time  pitcher  and  wash  basin  for  his 
ordinary  ablutions  long  after  the  development  of  plumb- 
ing brought  the  common  use  of  running  water  in  bed- 
rooms. Priests  are  usually  slow  to  make  changes  in  liv- 
ing conditions  which  merely  minister  to  their  own  com- 
fort, and  the  Cardinal  shared  this  disposition. 

He  kept  in  his  bedroom  two  pieces  of  apparatus  for 
muscular  development  and  used  them  for  a  few  minutes 


after  dressing  every  morning.  One  of  them  was  for  bring- 
ing elasticity  and  strength  to  the  arms;  the  other  to  the 
body  and  legs.  He  called  this  process,  as  many  athletes 
do,  "limbering  up,"  and  considered  it  to  be  especially 
valuable  in  stimulating  his  vitality  for  the  day's  stress. 

Twenty  minutes  after  the  Cardinal  arose,  he  was  fully 
dressed  and  ready  for  the  routine  of  the  day.  The  next 
thirty-five  minutes  he  spent  in  morning  prayers  and  medi- 
tations in  his  room,  his  favorite  subjects  for  spiritual  re- 
flection in  that  period  being  the  Gospels  or  the  epistles 
of  St.  Paul.  At  seven  o'clock  punctually  he  entered  the 
Cathedral  and  began  the  celebration  of  his  daily  Mass,  a 
service  which  was  attended  often  by  hundreds  of  persons. 
The  Mass  was  ended  at  half  past  seven  and  after  it  he 
spent  twenty  minutes  in  prayer  before  the  Blessed  Sacra- 
ment (Thanksgiving  after  Mass). 

He  then  turned  his  attention  to  secular  things,  re- 
turning to  his  study  in  the  southeast  corner  of  his  resi- 
dence and  devoting  about  ten  minutes  to  glancing  over 
his  morning  mail  and  newspapers.  At  eight  o'clock  he 
was  called  to  breakfast. 

By  that  time  he  had  developed  some  degree  of  appe- 
tite, but  was  most  careful  to  eat  sparingly  and  to  avoid 
partaking  of  anything  outside  a  small  range  of  foods 
which,  he  had  learned  from  experience,  he  was  usually 
able  to  assimilate.  Every  day  in  the  year,  except  during 
Lent  and  on  Fridays  and  other  days  of  abstinence,  the 
dishes  were  almost  the  same.  In  Lent  he  restricted  the 
meal  to  a  small  portion  of  bread  and  a  cup  of  coffee. 

Immediately  after  breakfast  the  Cardinal  returned  to 


his  study  and  read  the  day's  newspapers  rapidly  but 
with  discriminating  perception  as  to  their  contents.  Al- 
ways keenly  interested  in  Baltimore,  he  was  accustomed 
to  read  the  local  news  first,  and  sometimes  made  notes 
of  things  that  interested  him  or  were  important  to  him. 
Next,  he  hastily  scanned  the  news  of  America  and  the 
world,  in  not  a  little  of  which  he  had  a  direct  concern. 
The  developments  of  government  and  politics  in  this 
country  and  abroad  were  particularly  absorbing  to  him 
as  a  result  of  his  natural  bent  for  the  consideration  of 
public  questions.  He  derived  much  pleasure  from  study- 
ing the  editorials,  expressing  sometimes  to  his  secretary, 
if  that  functionary  happened  to  be  present,  his  agreement 
or  disagreement  with  the  views  set  forth. 

Soon  the  Cardinal  turned  to  the  work  of  disposing  of 
his  mail,  which  was,  naturally,  exceptionally  voluminous 
and  varied.  There  might  be  a  letter  from  the  Pope  or  one 
or  more  of  the  Cardinals  in  Rome  who  were  the  heads  of 
the  bureaus  of  the  Church.  These  required  careful 
thought  both  as  to  their  substance  and  the  wording  of  the 
replies,  and  Gibbons  often  put  them  aside  in  order  to 
write  the  answers  in  Latin  in  his  own  hand.  There 
might  also  be  a  letter  from  the  President  of  the  United 
States,  the  Secretary  of  State,  some  other  member  of  the 
Cabinet,  an  American  governor,  or  one  of  the  diplomatic 
corps  stationed  in  Washington.  Many  of  these  also  he 
answered  personally,  being  able  to  write  rapidly  in  his 
small  and  legible  hand  and  apparently  feeling  little  fa- 
tigue from  doing  so.  If  he  dictated  replies  to  such  letters, 
he  was  extremely  precise  as  to  every  word,  sometimes  ris- 


ing  from  his  chair  and  pacing  up  and  down  the  floor 
with  his  hands  behind  his  back,  as  he  framed  the  answer 
for  his  secretary  to  take  down. 

While  dictating,  the  expression  of  his  countenance  was 
one  of  intense  concentration.  His  eye  was  as  keen  as  the 
glistening  point  of  a  lance;  his  features  were  the  picture 
of  alertness,  resourcefulness,  speed,  like  those  of  a  lithe 
runner  about  to  dart  across  the  starting  line  for  a  race. 
Every  word  came  out  with  a  clear-cut  precision  of  thought 
that  seemed  to  pierce  to  the  heart  of  all  obscurity.  He 
almost  leaped  from  one  letter  or  document  to  another 
until  the  last  of  them  had  been  disposed  of.  Then  his 
high-speed  mental  engine  stopped;  but  he  could  start  it 
again  at  the  same  speed,  if  need  be,  at  a  moment's  notice. 

The  other  American  Archbishops  were  in  frequent  cor- 
respondence with  him,  and  their  letters  received  pains- 
taking attention.  Much  of  his  correspondence  related  to 
his  own  diocese,  upon  which  he  held  the  reins  as  firmly 
as  any  Bishop  in  the  world.  No  matter  what  his  general 
preoccupations  might  be,  he  was  always  ready  to  advise 
one  of  his  priests  as  to  any  problem  which  appeared  to 
be  difficult,  whether  it  might  be  the  raising  of  funds  to 
build  a  church  or  a  rectory;  the  establishment  of  a  mis- 
sion, or  a  disciplinary  question  that  might  arise  within  a 
parish.  The  priests  were  not  slow  to  consult  him  about 
many  details,  knowing  his  habit  of  devoting  careful 
attention  to  them ;  and,  besides,  not  a  few  of  them  wrote 
to  him  upon  subjects  which  were  purely  personal.  There 
were  also  hundreds  in  secular  walks  of  life  who  wrote  to 
him  upon  personal  topics,  many  of  which  might  have 
appeared  insignificant  in  the  Cardinal's  widely  extended 


perspective,  but  few  of  which  he  was  accustomed  to  ig- 
nore. His  letters  to  these  correspondents  were  usually  of 
moderate  length,  but  he  always  avoided  the  brevity  which 
might  suggest  brusqueness. 

Applications  for  help  were  numerous  in  his  mail.  Some 
persons  wished  financial  assistance,  either  for  causes 
which  they  represented  or  for  themselves ;  others  besought 
his  endorsement  of  their  applications  for  positions  in  the 
business  world.  Naturally  many  persons  whose  minds 
were  unbalanced  on  the  subject  of  religion  wrote  to  him, 
some  of  their  communications  being  a  score  of  pages  in 

Besides  all  these  there  was  a  deluge  of  advertisements 
of  many  kinds  and  offers  of  stock  in  mines,  industrial 
enterprises  and  land  schemes,  either  as  gifts  or  sales,  such 
as  Americans  of  prominence  receive.  Publishers  sent  to 
him  many  books.  The  political  pamphleteers  and  other 
pleaders  did  not  fail  to  address  their  appeals  to  so  power- 
ful a  figure  in  national  life.  Many  of  these  communica- 
tions obviously  required  no  answer. 

The  Cardinal's  mind  was  then  functioning  at  its  best, 
which  meant  that  he  was  capable  of  more  intellectual 
action  in  an  instant  than  most  persons  are  capable  of  in 
hours.  When  he  was  in  the  prime  of  life  the  position  of 
his  secretary  was  not  without  its  trials.  He  did  not  per- 
sonally write  or  dictate  all  his  letters,  because  the  time 
consumed  by  that  process  would  have  been  too  long. 
Not  infrequently,  where  the  circumstances  permitted,  he 
would  toss  a  letter  to  his  secretary,  giving  the  substance 
of  his  reply,  and  saying  to  him:  "Answer  along  these 


There  were  some  exceptionally  gifted  men  who  were 
assigned  to  transcribe  his  correspondence  at  one  period  or 
another,  but  it  was  almost  impossible  for  any  of  them 
to  keep  up  with  the  whirlwind  speed  of  the  Cardinal's 
mind.  At  the  end  of  half  an  hour  or  more,  when  he  had 
finished  and  they  left  his  study,  their  senses  were  almost 
benumbed  by  the  task  which  had  been  given  to  them. 
If  they  failed  in  some  particular,  Gibbons  was  indulgent 
and  forgiving;  but  this  only  softened  and  did  not  remove 
the  apprehension  with  which  the  secretary  sat  down  in 
his  own  room  to  transfer  to  formal  communications  the 
thoughts  which  had  flashed  so  rapidly  from  the  brilliant 
brain  of  the  Cardinal. 

Correspondence  with  Rome  and  with  Catholic  prelates 
elsewhere  occupied  a  part  of  virtually  every  day.  Even 
after  the  establishment  of  the  Papal  legation  at  Wash- 
ington, Gibbons'  position  made  it  necessary  that  much 
of  the  American  correspondence  with  Rome  should  con- 
tinue to  center  in  him. 

Every  Christmas  he  was  accustomed  to  send  to  each 
of  his  fellow  Cardinals  and  to  the  Catholic  sovereigns  of 
Europe  letters  wishing  them  prosperity,  and  offering 
prayers  in  their  behalf.  Before  the  World  War  these 
letters  were  addressed  to  the  Emperor  of  Austria,  the 
Kings  of  Spain,  Belgium  and  Saxony,  and  the  Prince 
Regent  of  Bavaria.  After  the  war  he  continued  to  send 
them  to  the  Spanish  and  Belgian  monarchs. 

His  correspondence  with  all  the  later  Presidents  was 
frequent,  as  well  as  with  many  cabinet  officers  and  heads 
of  bureaus  in  Washington.     Not  a  few  of  these  sought 



his  advice  upon  general  subjects.  His  reach  in  Ameri- 
can affairs  seemed  to  penetrate  almost  everywhere. 

He  was  invited,  in  some  of  the  letters  that  he  received, 
to  furnish  material  for  debating  societies.  Requests  were 
made  that  he  define  views  on  government  or  current 
events,  and  general  questions  were  propounded  to  him. 
It  was  characteristic  of  him  that  he  took  the  pains  to  an- 
swer as  many  of  these  communications  as  possible  in  a 
way  that  would  satisfy  the  inquirers. 

Having  finished  with  the  mass  of  his  correspondence, 
Gibbons  was  accustomed  to  take  up  diocesan  financial 
affairs  and  his  private  business,  which  were  not  small  in 
volume.  As  the  property  of  the  Church  in  an  American 
diocese  is  held  in  the  name  of  the  Bishop,  his  judgment 
and  assent  were  necessary  as  to  many  details  of  financial 
administration  in  the  parishes.  Bequests  whose  total 
amounted  to  millions  of  dollars  were  made  to  him  per- 
sonally, it  being  expected,  of  course,  that  he  would  dis- 
tribute the  proceeds  in  works  for  the  Church  or  general 
benevolence.  The  royalties  upon  his  books  brought  him 
a  large  sum  which  was  all  his  own;  but  he  spent  this 
almost  as  rapidly  as  it  came,  and  never  on  himself  or 
his  own  comforts. 

His  charities  were  without  number  and  unknown  to 
any  individual  except  himself.  His  fixed  habit  in  regard 
to  them  was  not  to  let  his  left  hand  know  what  his  right 
hand  did,  and  nothing  could  induce  him  to  depart  from 
it.  Some  of  the  money  which  he  bestowed,  apart  from 
that  devoted  directly  to  Church  purposes,  went  to  educa- 
tional and  other  institutions  in  the  diocese  of  Baltimore, 


including  the  Catholic  University.  He  also  paid  from 
time  to  time  for  repairs  and  improvements  to  his  titular 
church  in  Rome,  that  of  Santa  Maria  in  Trastevere,  and 
on  one  occasion  gave  $4,500  for  placing  a  new  roof  upon 

He  was  constantly  bestowing  gifts  upon  persons  who 
needed  them,  including  clothing  and  books,  and  gave 
prompt  attention  to  every  bill  for  those  things  that  was 
sent  to  him.  Many  students  received  assistance  from 
him.  Some  of  these  were  young  men  preparing  for  the 
priesthood;  others  were  acquiring  a  general  education  in 
Catholic  institutions.  Among  the  last  named  were  girls 
or  young  women  who  had  become  orphaned,  or  who,  for 
some  other  reason,  were  suddenly  left  without  funds 
while  their  education  was  incomplete.  Not  one  of  them 
knew  who  it  was  who  paid  for  their  tuition,  books,  clothes 
and  even  the  expenses  of  vacation  trips. 

The  Cardinal's  benefactions  were  freely  given  to  those 
who  applied  to  him  directly.  The  following  actual  case 
was  one  of  many:  An  elderly  woman  approached 
him  as  he  was  entering  his  residence.  She  told  him  that 
she  was  in  want,  related  the  circumstances  and  named  the 
amount  which  would  relieve  her  necessities.  The  Car- 
dinal replied: 

"My  good  daughter,  I  am  sorry  to  hear  of  your  plight. 
Surely  you  will  receive  the  necessary  assistance.  Now  go 
in  peace." 

He  immediately  called  an  attache  of  the  archiepiscopal 
house,  telling  him  to  take  the  woman's  name  and  see  that 
help  was  sent  to  her.  She  went  on  her  way,  and  he 
raised  his  hand  in  blessing  and  proceeded  to  his  room. 


It  would  be  appraising  the  Cardinal's  benefactions 
unfairly  to  assume  that  they  consisted  wholly  of  financial 
aid.  He  was  accustomed  to  mingle  good  counsel  and 
personal  effort  with  the  assistance  which  he  extended. 
The  fact  that  any  person  was  in  distress  appealed  to  him 
instantly,  and  he  did  not  always  stop  to  inquire  as  to  the 
reason.  He  would  take  time  that  might  have  been  de- 
voted to  far  weightier  things  to  listen  to  accounts  of  in- 
dividual troubles  and  to  lend  his  sympathetic  and  active 
efforts  toward  permanently  assuaging  them.  Of  all  the 
things  in  life  which  gave  him  satisfaction  this  was  prob- 
ably the  first.  Although  sometimes  persons  in  his  house- 
hold would  catch  a  clue  to  one  or  more  of  his  acts  of  this 
kind,  he  showed  great  ingenuity  in  concealing  them.  The 
best  indication  of  their  aggregate  mass  was  the  fact  that 
dozens  of  individuals  placed  in  positions  of  responsibility 
for  the  care  of  young  persons  and  the  poor  considered  the 
Cardinal  to  be  their  benefactor  and  helper,  ready  to  give 
to  the  utmost  of  his  ability  and  to  devote  his  time  to 
them,  as  if  that  were  the  only  concern  which  he  had. 

So  much  did  he  give  away  that  he  was  sometimes  seri- 
ously embarrassed  for  lack  of  funds,  although  he  ab- 
horred debt  and  sought  never  to  contract  it.  Once  he  said 
to  a  friend : 

'T  have  not  a  dollar  in  the  world;  if  I  had,  I  would  pay 
the  debt  upon  Gibbons'  Hall.^  As  it  has  been  erected 
and  bears  my  name,  I  am  uneasy  that  any  incumbrance 
hangs  over  it." 

So  rapidy  did  Gibbons  work  that  by  ten  o'clock  every 
week  day  morning  he  was  ready  to  receive  callers.    From 

*  At  the  Catholic  University. 


ten  to  twelve  any  person  who  went  to  his  residence  with 
a  legitimate  mission  could  see  him.  There  are  two  recep- 
tion rooms  in  the  house,  and  often  there  were  callers  in 
both,  as  well  as  in  a  third  room  near-by  which  was 
brought  into  use  in  order  to  provide  for  any  overflow. 
The  audiences  were  arranged  so  that  wherever  it  seemed 
proper  the  Cardinal  could  receive  his  visitors  individually. 

Now  and  then,  when  there  was  a  lull,  he  would  trip 
up  the  stairs  to  his  study,  often  two  steps  at  a  time,  sel- 
dom placing  his  hand  upon  the  railing  of  the  staircase  for 
support.  At  the  appearance  of  the  next  visitor,  he  would 
descend  with  unruffled  calm,  as  if  the  new  caller  were  the 
first  who  had  come  to  see  him  that  morning. 

Many  of  his  visitors  were  men  distinguished  in  ecclesi- 
astical or  public  life.  There  might  be  foreign  diplomats 
or  noblemen,  American  statesmen,  politicians,  bankers, 
merchants,  authors,  scientists,  even  actors  and  actresses, 
some  of  whom  called  upon  business  and  others  merely  to 
pay  their  respects.  Almost  every  distinguished  visitor 
to  Baltimore  who  felt  that  it  was  proper  for  him  to  call 
upon  the  Cardinal  did  so.  European  writers  and  persons 
of  note  who  were  making  tours  of  the  country  usually  di- 
verted their  travels  so  that  they  might  visit  the  famous 
prelate.  One  and  all  of  these  expressed  amazement,  as 
well  they  might,  at  the  range  of  his  knowledge  of  the  sub- 
jects which  particularly  interested  them,  including  condi- 
tions in  their  own  countries. 

Few  men  knew  as  well  as  he  how  to  end  a  visit  without 
disturbing  the  sensibilities  of  the  caller,  who  usually  left 
with  a  feeling  of  having  been  complimented  by  the  espe- 
cial attention  bestowed. 


Among  his  visitors  were  non-Catholic  ministers,  some 
of  whom,  strange  to  say,  consulted  him  about  questions 
relating  to  religion  in  regard  to  which  they  valued  his 
opinion  more  than  those  of  men  high  in  their  own  com- 

Gibbons  never  attended  a  theater,  so  the  actors  and 
actresses  who  visited  him  called,  as  a  rule,  because  they 
were  devout  Catholics  and  wished  to  pay  their  respects 
to  him  while  they  were  in  Baltimore.  He  recognized  that 
some  plays  might  be  good,  in  fact  beneficial  to  the  moral 
nature,  as  well  as  entertaining,  yet  he  regarded  so  many 
of  them  as  evil  in  their  effects  upon  the  mind  that  he 
could  never  bring  himself  to  witness  even  one.  He  was 
well  acquainted  with  William  J.  Florence,  Mary  Ander- 
son, Margaret  Anglin  and  a  number  of  other  leading 
stage  folk,  to  whom  he  showed  the  utmost  kindness  when 
the  opportunity  permitted.  Mary  Anderson  (Mrs.  Na- 
varro) he  regarded  as  a  model  of  what  a  woman  on  the 
stage  ought  to  be,  and  she,  in  turn,  was  devoted  to  him. 
After  she  had  abandoned  a  theatrical  career  and  taken 
up  her  residence  in  England  she  esteemed  it  an  honor  to 
visit  him  whenever  his  presence  in  that  country  made  it 

Sometimes  he  received  special  invitations  to  attend 
theatrical  performances.  When  he  was  Vicar  Apostolic 
of  North  Carolina,  Edwin  Forrest  played  in  Wilmington 
and  sent  a  member  of  his  company  to  invite  Gibbons  to 
occupy  a  box  at  the  performance.  The  emissary  was, 
perhaps,  not  well  chosen,  for  this  is  the  way  he  expressed 

"Bishop,  it  is  a  question  mooted  among  moralists  as  to 


whether  the  stage,  the  press  or  the  pulpit  is  the  greatest 
force  for  the  advancement  of  religious  and  moral  ideas. 
As  a  member  of  the  theatrical  profession,  I  hesitate  to 
express  my  opinion." 

The  Bishop  might  have  considered  that  he  had  ground 
for  assuming  that  the  opinion  which  the  actor  withheld 
was  that  the  theatrical  profession  ranked  first  in  this  re- 
spect. At  any  rate,  he  declined  with  thanks  the  invita- 
tion which  was  presented. 

European  visitors  were  surprised  at  the  ease  with  which 
it  was  possible  to  arrange  an  audience  with  the  Cardinal. 
Naturally  influenced  by  conditions  which  prevailed  in 
their  own  countries,  they  supposed  that  much  formality 
was  necessary  both  in  obtaining  his  consent  to  an  inter- 
view and  as  to  the  form  of  the  interview  itself.  In  both 
of  these  matters  they  were  greatly  mistaken. 

At  the  front  door,  instead  of  the  liveried  footman  who 
acts  as  usher  for  princes  of  the  Church  in  Europe,  was  a 
boy  usually  between  thirteen  and  seventeen  years  old, 
dressed  in  ordinary  street  clothes,  who  received  cards 
and  carried  them  to  Gibbons.  All  appearance  of  state  or 
of  more  than  the  simplest  formality  was  lacking.  The 
real  democracy  of  Gibbons'  life  was  nowhere  better 
shown  than  in  the  manner  of  his  public  receptions. 

His  habit  of  meeting  any  person  who  called  led  some- 
times to  embarassing  incidents,  and  on  one  occasion  to 
serious  personal  danger  to  himself.  A  man  who  the 
Baltimore  police  said  was  a  persistent  criminal  was  found 
on  the  street  in  the  dress  of  a  Catholic  priest.  It  was 
charged  that  he  had  attempted  to  obtain  money  fraudu- 
lently from  a  business  firm.     When  arrested,  the  man 


said  that  he  was  a  priest  and  asked  to  be  taken  to  the 
Cardinal's  residence,  so  that  he  could  prove  his  identity. 
Detectives,  relying  upon  the  Cardinal's  good  nature  and 
his  willingness  to  receive  all,  took  the  man  to  the  archi- 
episcopal  house  and  requested  Gibbons  to  examine  him. 
The  Cardinal  at  once  asked  that  the  suspect  be  left  alone 
in  the  room  with  him  for  a  few  moments  in  order  that 
he  might  question  him. 

As  Gibbons  closed  the  door  the  man  stood  threaten- 
ingly, with  his  hand  in  his  overcoat  pocket  as  if  he  might 
draw  a  pistol.  The  Cardinal  faced  him  fearlessly.  Only 
a  few  moments  were  required  for  him  to  ascertain  defi- 
nitely that  the  man  was  an  impostor,  and  he  pronounced 
him  such  with  the  utmost  coolness.  The  detectives  were 
again  summoned  and  when  the  Cardinal  had  informed 
them  that  the  man  was  not  a  priest  they  took  him  away 
to  be  arraigned.  At  the  police  station  he  drew  a  pistol 
from  his  overcoat  pocket  and  fired  two  shots.  Later  the 
same  man  attempted  to  escape  from  jail  and  was  only 
prevented  from  doing  so  by  the  breaking  of  a  rope. 

Not  infrequently  persons  who  were  somewhat  unbal- 
anced mentally  contrived  to  obtain  audiences  with  the 
Cardinal,  but  his  kindness  and  cordiality  combined  with 
his  ever-present  tact  usually  caused  them  to  reconsider 
their  desire  to  become  disagreeable  in  any  way.  In  May, 
1899,  ^  demented  Baltimore  mechanic  called  at  his  resi- 
dence, and,  upon  being  told  that  the  Cardinal  was  out, 
attempted  to  break  in  the  door.  He  threatened  to  kill 
the  boy  usher,  and  finally  forced  his  way  into  the  house, 
where  one  of  the  Cathedral  clergy  contrived  to  save  the 
situation  by  the  exercise  of  ready  wit.     Inviting  the  in- 


truder  into  a  room,  he  closed  the  door  and  kept  him  a 
prisoner  until  a  policeman  arrived. 

At  noon  Gibbons  suspended  his  public  audiences  for 
the  time  being,  unless  callers  were  waiting,  or  unless 
there  was  special  reason  to  see  some  one  who  arrived 
after  that  time.  He  then  retired  to  his  study  and  spent 
half  an  hour  in  the  reading  of  his  office,  the  daily  spiritual 
exercise  prescribed  by  the  Church. 

Changing  to  street  clothes  and  taking  his  hat  and  cane, 
he  started  about  half  past  twelve  for  his  first  daily  walk. 
His  habitually  cheerful  mood  became  blithe  and  buoyant 
as  soon  as  he  reached  the  open  air,  and,  with  the  more 
serious  cares  brushed  aside,  he  started  briskly  through 
the  streets  of  downtown  Baltimore. 

Usually  the  Cardinal  had  some  goal  in  these  journeys. 
Often  he  stopped  at  a  bank  where  he  was  accustomed 
to  attend  to  his  personal  finances.  Sometimes  he  went 
to  a  book  store,  where  his  eye  roved  over  the  new  acquisi- 
tions, and  he  bought  what  he  wished  for  himself,  as  well 
as  made  occasional  purchases  of  gifts  for  others.  Again 
his  jaunt  was  through  the  busiest  part  of  the  city  to  the 
office  of  his  close  friend,  Michael  Jenkins,  the  president 
of  a  trust  company,  who  was  also  the  treasurer  of  the 
Catholic  University,  and  with  whom  he  often  considered 
problems  developed  by  the  extraordinarily  rapid  growth 
of  that  institution.  If  his  watch,  his  spectacles,  or  any 
little  personal  article  needed  repairs,  he  would  stop  in 
places  where  these  things  could  be  attended  to.  Now 
and  then  he  visited  one  of  the  convents  near  the  center 
of  the  city,  and  not  infrequently  took  the  opportunity  to 
call  upon  a  sick  friend  who,  needless  to  say,  was  im- 


mensely  consoled  by  the  considerate  personal  attentions 
of  so  distinguished  a  man. 

The  revelation  of  the  Cardinal's  list  of  personal 
acquaintances  was  little  short  of  overpowering  to  persons 
who  were  invited  now  and  then  to  accompany  him  on 
these  midday  excursions.  As  he  passed  along  the  busy 
streets,  he  seemed  to  be  almost  continually  lifting  his 
hat,  and  he  called  by  name  many  of  the  persons  with 
whom  he  exchanged  salutations.  These  acquaintances 
were  of  almost  endless  variety.  They  embraced,  of 
course,  almost  the  whole  body  of  the  leading  men  of 
Baltimore  in  nearly  every  walk  of  life,  but  from  this 
apex  they  reached  far  down  until  they  included  news- 
boys, upon  whom  the  Cardinal  was  not  unlikely  to  bestow 
more  time  and  attention  than  persons  far  above  them  in 
station.  Occasionally  he  would  stop  to  buy  out-of-town 
newspapers  from  one  of  these  boys,  to  drop  a  silver  coin 
into  his  hand  and  to  exchange  a  few  pleasant  words. 

The  Cardinal's  custom  of  buying  newspapers  in  the 
course  of  his  walks  soon  became  known  among  newsboys 
generally,  and  five  or  six  would  rush  to  meet  him,  each 
making  a  desperate  effort  to  reach  him  first.  He  would 
seem  greatly  amused,  but  always  picked  out  the  boy  from 
whom  he  was  accustomed  to  purchase. 

It  is  not  usual  for  an  Archbishop  to  possess  a  personal 
acquaintance  so  large  as  to  excite  remark,  but  for  many 
years  Gibbons  had  one  far  larger  than  any  other  man 
in  Baltimore.  His  intimates  accepted  this  as  a  truism, 
but  no  matter  how  well  they  were  aware  of  the  general 
range  of  his  personal  relations  they  found  new  amaze- 
ment each  time  they  accompanied  him  on  his  midday 


walks  from  observing  the  number  who  saluted  him,  and 
were  saluted  in  turn,  in  such  a  short  distance  as  from 
one  street  corner  to  another.  Strangest  of  all,  he  seemed 
to  be  an  intimate  part  of  the  daily  lives  of  those  with 
whom  he  exchanged  salutations,  sharing  their  joys  and 
sorrows — a  fountain  from  which  a  thousand  streams 

At  twenty  minutes  past  one  o'clock,  punctual  as  al- 
ways, the  Cardinal  returned  to  his  residence  and  ten 
minutes  later  was  seated  at  dinner.  This  was  his  most 
abundant  meal  of  the  day,  as  he  had  found  from  experi- 
ence that  hearty  meals  in  the  morning  and  evening  usually 
deranged  his  digestion.  Dinner  was  to  him  one  of  the 
main  events  of  the  day,  and  almost  always  he  sat  down 
to  the  table  in  high  spirits,  radiating  zest,  pleasantry  and 
anecdote.  The  weakness  of  his  digestion  imposed  upon 
him  the  practise  of  eating  slowly,  and  he  faithfully  fol- 
lowed the  precepts  of  Fletcher,  often  taking  a  long  time 
to  eat  what  to  the  average  person  would  be  a  very  slender 
meal.  For  dinner  the  Cardinal  not  uncommonly  had  a 
guest  or  two,  perhaps  a  visiting  Bishop,  priest  or  layman. 
To  these  he  was  always  hospitable  and  entertaining,  with 
a  grace  that  seemed  unique,  keeping  up  his  spirited  con- 
versation and  laughing  heartily  at  times. 

When  only  priests  of  the  household  were  present.  Gib- 
bons led  the  conversation  on  terms  of  easy  friendship 
with  them,  and  talked  freely  of  events  of  the  day,  per- 
sons, places  and  things,  telling  many  stories  and  giving 
forth  a  flood  of  information  which  made  the  period  one 
of  great  profit  to  young  clergymen. 

At  dinner,  as  at  breakfast,  he  chose  his  menu  carefully 


and  it  was  practically  the  same  from  day  to  day  and 
year  to  year,  except  on  fast  days.  Intricately  prepared 
or  highly  seasoned  dishes  were  always  excluded  from  his 

Dinner  usually  consumed  about  three-quarters  of  an 
hour,  after  which  the  Cardinal  returned  to  his  study. 
Now  began  the  only  interval  of  the  day  in  which  he 
secluded  himself.  No  matter  where  he  was,  or  what  sub- 
ject was  occupying  him,  he  attempted  to  sleep  for  an 
hour  after  the  midday  dinner.  He  formed  this  habit 
early  in  life  and  continued  it  because  it  enabled  him  to 
recuperate  amazingly.  Sometimes  he  was  able  to  recline 
and  sleep  soundly  during  that  period,  but  often,  espe- 
cially in  later  years,  he  could  not  do  so,  and  rested  in  a 
big  leather-covered  chair  with  all  cares  and  preoccupa- 
tions dismissed  from  his  mind. 

By  three  o'clock  he  had  fully  recovered  from  fatigue, 
no  matter  how  trying  the  duties  of  the  morning  had  been. 
Sometimes  these  duties  included  preaching,  the  ordina- 
tion of  priests,  or  the  long  process  of  confirming  a  numer- 
ous class.  Almost  always  he  arose  from  his  rest  thor- 
oughly refreshed  for  new  occupations. 

He  then  resumed  the  reading  of  his  office  and  at  the 
conclusion  of  this  long  exercise  indulged  in  a  cigar — 
often  his  first  of  the  day.  He  used  to  say  that  he  did 
not  smoke  until  he  was  past  thirty  years  of  age,  and  even 
then  not  from  preference,  but  in  order  to  prevent  other 
persons  who  wished  to  smoke  from  being  constrained  in 
his  presence. 

Until  half  past  four  o'clock  he  remained  in  his  resi- 
dence for  afternoon  audiences,  tripping  down  the  steps 


to  receive  callers  as  in  the  morning,  and  returning  at 
intervals.  It  was  during  this  part  of  the  day  that  priests 
of  the  diocese  usually  called  upon  him.  When  they  were 
with  him,  if  a  shadow  rested  because  of  the  rigid  self- 
discipline  of  ecclesiastical  life,  he  dispelled  it  with  the 
sweet  sunshine  of  a  joyous  and  elastic  nature.  Even  as 
he  celebrated  with  deep  devotion  the  commemoration  of 
Golgotha,  his  heart  was  buoyant  with  the  eternal  hope 
born  of  the  deliverance  on  the  first  Easter  day.  To  him 
life  was  brightness,  and  the  mercy  that  removed  the  stains 
of  the  thief  on  the  Cross  was  ever  ready  for  the  humblest 
of  men.  The  thought  of  diffusing  joy  was  as  much  a 
part  of  him  as  the  thought  of  service — in  fact,  he  counted 
it  service  to  make  men  happy  as  well  as  good. 

When  the  period  for  these  audiences  had  ended,  he 
began  his  second  and  longest  walk  of  the  day.  This 
usually  lasted  for  at  least  an  hour  and  often  much  longer. 
He  always  traversed  several  miles  in  the  residential  sec- 
tion of  the  city,  even  in  severe  weather,  bowing  as  before 
to  acquaintances  seemingly  without  number.  In  the 
prime  of  his  physical  activity  he  sometimes  walked  ten 
or  more  miles  a  day  and  persons  who  accompanied  him 
found  the  ordeal  so  exhausting  that  some  of  them  were 
compelled  to  ask  his  permission  to  leave  before  the  trip 
was  concluded. 

He  walked  at  a  brisk  pace  with  a  long  stride,  after  the 
manner  of  men  accustomed  to  pedestrianism.  His  head 
was  usually  slightly  bowed,  but  his  quick  eyes  observed 
everything  around  him.  Now  and  then  he  invited  dis- 
tinguished visitors  to  accompany  him  upon  these  walks. 


but  if  he  intended  to  make  the  journey  a  long  one,  he 
sometimes  warned  them  in  advance  that  they  might  find 
the  exercise  trying. 

These  excursions  were  a  source  of  immense  refresh- 
ment to  the  Cardinal.  He  varied  his  route  from  time  to 
time,  but  always  returned  to  the  Cathedral,  where  he 
stopped  for  a  visit  of  fifteen  minutes  to  the  Blessed  Sacra- 
ment. At  half  past  six  o'clock  came  a  light  supper,  fol- 
lowed by  another  cigar. 

The  heavier  cares  of  the  day  having  now  passed,  the 
Cardinal  spent  the  early  evening  in  the  quiet  of  his  study, 
seeking  the  solace  of  a  book  or  perhaps  a  chat  with  an 
intimate  friend.  At  half  past  seven  o'clock  he  said  his 
rosary,  or,  if  he  happened  to  be  going  out  to  dinner,  he 
performed  that  act  of  devotion  before  leaving  the  house ; 
nothing  was  permitted  to  interfere  with  it.  From  half 
past  nine  to  a  quarter  of  ten  he  recited  his  night  prayers, 
and  at  ten  o'clock  he  was  in  bed,  allowing  nothing,  save 
some  extraordinary  circumstance,  to  interfere. 

The  total  time  which  he  spent  in  devotions  was  never 
less  than  three  and  a  half  to  four  hours  daily,  unless_  he 
was  afflicted  by  particularly  severe  illness.  The  reading 
of  his  office  alone  consumed  about  an  hour  and  a  half. 
This  consists  of  matins  and  lauds,  three  quarters  of  an 
hour;  the  "Little  Hours,"  twenty  minutes  to  half  an  hour, 
and  vespers  and  complin,  fifteen  minutes.  In  the  United 
States  it  is  customary  to  say  the  matins  and  lauds  ^  last, 
and  Gibbons  followed  this  method.  At  nine  o'clock  punc- 
tually, in  the  midst  of  his  busy  mornings,  he  began  with 

'  Of  the  next  day. 


the  "Little  Hours,"  which  many  priests,  who  have  far 
less  exacting  duties,  are  inclined  to  put  off  until  later. 
Added  to  his  numerous  acts  of  daily  devotion,  he  went 
to  confession  once  a  week  at  St.  Mary's  Seminary,  and 
annually  joined  in  the  retreat  there. 

It  was  remarked  that  he  never  performed  his  private 
devotions  where  others  could  see  him;  his  devotional  life 
was  "hidden  with  Christ  in  God." 

Away  from  home  the  Cardinal  varied  his  daily  routine 
as  little  as  possible.  It  is  safe  to  say  that  no  Bishop  in 
the  world  was  more  punctilious  in  attending  to  his 
diocesan  duties,  which  required  many  journeys.  He  con- 
tinued these  journeys  up  to  the  time  of  his  last  illness, 
and  until  he  was  eighty  years  old  spared  himself  nothing 
in  the  way  of  physical  exertion  in  the  course  of  them. 

An  instance  may  be  given:  When  he  was  seventy-six 
years  old  he  made  a  diocesan  trip  to  Southern  Maryland. 
Leaving  Baltimore  in  the  morning,  he  went  to  Washing- 
ton, took  a  boat  down  the  Potomac  River  in  the  after- 
noon, arrived  at  Leonardtown,  St.  Mary's  County,  at 
sunrise  the  next  morning,  pontificated  at  a  solemn  High 
Mass  at  ten  o'clock,  attended  a  jubilee  celebration  of  a 
girls'  seminary  the  entire  afternoon  and  received  several 
hundred  of  the  residents  of  the  town  in  the  evening.  On 
the  five  following  days  he  went  through  virtually  the 
same  protracted  exertion,  traveling  over  rough  roads  in 
a  carriage,  visiting  a  dozen  churches,  confirming  more 
than  one  thousand  persons,  preaching  many  times  and 
shaking  hands  with  thousands.  There  was  rain  on  two 
of  these  days,  and  traveling  was  difficult. 

Visitors  from  abroad,  particularly  those  from  Catholic 


countries,  wrote  much  of  their  observations  of  Gibbons 
in  Baltimore.  One  of  these  was  Abbe  Felix  Klein,  pro- 
fessor in  the  Catholic  Institute  of  Paris,  who  thus  re- 
corded his  impressions: 

"At  four  o'clock  we  started  for  a  drive.  Usually  the 
Cardinal  walks,  but  today  he  takes  a  carriage  in  order 
that  I  may  see  more  of  the  city.  Almost  everybody 
salutes  him. 

"During  our  trip  we  had  time  to  talk  of  many  persons 
and  many  things.  A  part  of  our  conversation  may  per- 
haps be  repeated  without  indiscretion.  The  Cardinal 
praised  highly  the  devoted  wisdom  of  Father  Magnien, 
the  former  superior  of  the  Baltimore  Seminary,  who  was 
foremost  in  his  confidence  and  friendship.  He  inquired 
about  the  Montalembert  family,  who  had  some  relations 
with  him,  and  who  bear  a  name  that  he  esteems  among  the 
most  honorable  in  the  world.  He  asked  news  of  Paul 
Bourget,  whose  visit,  some  years  ago,  deeply  interested 
him;  he  was  astonished  at  the  accuracy  with  which  the 
author  of  'Outre-Mer'  was  able,  without  having  taken 
notes,  to  reproduce  their  conversation.  .  .  . 

"Our  talk  drifted  to  some  more  general  questions. 
When  the  Cardinal  speaks  of  America,  his  words  breathe 
the  warmest  admiration  for  her  institutions;  comparison 
of  them  with  those  of  other  countries  is  not  able  to  chill 
his  sentiments.  He  rejoices  in  the  splendid  possibilities 
which  the  common  freedom  opens  to  the  Church  and  to  all 
well-meaning  persons.  He  is  pleased  to  see  Catholics 
play  the  part  of  good  citizens  in  the  affairs  of  the  coun- 
try; he  himself  sets  the  example  whenever  occasion  arises. 
His  countrymen  like  to  invite  him  to  the  great  public 
ceremonies,  at  which  a  place  is  reserved  for  him  next  to 
the  President. 

"How  important  the  work  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  has 
been  I  had  fresh  opportunities  of  learning  during  this 


visit  to  Baltimore.  His  Eminence  honored  me  with  sev- 
eral interviews,  and  we  were  together  for  a  long  ride 
through  the  beautiful  country  that  surrounds  his  episco- 
pal city.  From  this  intercourse  with  him,  I  carried  away 
a  deep  impression  of  the  wisdom,  prudence  and  tact  with 
which  this  true  shepherd  of  souls  has  led  his  people  into 
the  ways  of  fidelity  to  Catholic  teaching,  respect  for  the 
convictions  of  others,  loyalty  to  country,  and  generous 
sympathy  for  the  noble  aspirations  of  our  age. 

"At  the  beginning  of  my  sojourn  in  America,  I  should 
doubtless  have  less  readily  appreciated  the  mental  quali- 
ties of  the  Cardinal,  which  are  solid  and  just,  rather  than 
conspicuous  and  daring;  or  his  achievements,  which  are 
substantial,  rather  than  ostentatious;  or,  again,  his  elo- 
quence, which  he  prefers  should  be  of  practical  use,  rather 
than  for  literary  display;  or,  finally,  that  combination  of 
traits  of  character  which  makes  a  true  and  genuine  man, 
rather  than  the  mere  appearance  of  one.  I  say,  I  should 
not  have  been  prepared  at  first  properly  to  estimate  all 
this;  but  as  I  became  more  familiar  with  American  condi- 
tions, and  more  permeated  with  the  American  spirit — a 
spirit  which  is  simple,  practical,  frank,  optimistic  and 
tolerant — I  understood  how  greatly  favored  the  Church 
has  been  in  having  for  leaders  men  like  Cardinal  Gib- 
bons; men  who  know  and  love  their  country,  and  in  their 
own  character  exhibit  in  a  high  degree  the  qualities  most 
dear  to  Americans.  .  .  . 

"How  favored  a  place  Baltimore  is  for  great  ecclesias- 
tical events,  the  opportunities  it  affords  for  picking  up 
ecclesiastical  information  and  meeting  distinguished 
churchmen,  I  learned  from  many  indications  during  the 
three  days  I  spent  there.  Mgr.  Kain,  Archbishop  of  St. 
Louis,  who  had  come  to  the  city  some  months  previously 
to  seek  medical  care  at  a  sanitarium  of  the  Sisters  of 
Charity,  died  the  day  after  my  arrival.  He  left  behind 
him  the  memory  of  an  apostle,  of  a  man  of  faith,  forti- 


tude  and  wisdom.  On  the  third  day  of  my  visit,  I  found 
at  dinner  with  Cardinal  Gibbons,  Mgr.  Falconio,  Apos- 
tolic Delegate.  I  remember  with  what  lively  sympathy 
he  expressed  himself  on  the  religious  conditions  of  the 
United  States.  He  had  lived  there  long  enough  to  un- 
derstand those  conditions,  and  to  appreciate  them  cor- 
rectly. Happening  to  discuss  with  him  affairs  in  France, 
and  anxious  to  learn  his  opinion  of  the  separation  of 
Church  and  State  in  France,  I  was  surprised,  and,  to  be 
frank,  delighted,  to  find  that  the  prospect  of  such  a  sepa- 
ration far  from  disquieted  him.  He  saw  in  such  an  event 
the  way  of  deliverance;  a  rough  way,  indeed,  but  the  only 
one  that  could  lead  to  a  revival  of  the  religious  life  of 
France."  ' 

The  distinctive  atmosphere  which  surrounded  Gibbons 
in  his  home  was  best  exemplified,  perhaps,  in  his  annual 
New  Year  receptions,  which  he  kept  up  until  the  year 
preceding  his  death.  Not  to  have  attended  "the  Cardi- 
nal's reception"  was  almost  a  mark  of  reproach  in  certain 
circles  of  Baltimore.  The  mayor  and  living  ex-mayors 
of  the  city  were  almost  always  there,  and  not  infre- 
quently the  governor  of  the  State.  Protestants  mingled 
with  Catholics  in  the  great  crowd  which  stretched  far 
along  Charles  Street,  all  eager  to  shake  the  hand  of 
America's  foremost  churchman,  and  to  receive  the  cheer- 
ful words  and  the  smile  with  which  he  invariably  greeted 
the  callers.  Mothers  brought  their  children,  many  of 
whom  Gibbons  knew  by  name  no  less  than  the  promi- 
nent men  who  thronged  his  residence  on  such  occasions. 

His  ready  wit,  flashing  suddenly  at  intervals,  kept 
every  one  in  good  humor;  and  even  in  later  years  he  was 

"Klein,  The  Land  of  the^  Strenuous  Life,  p.  233  et  seq. 


able  to  preserve  the  buoyancy  of  his  spirits  for  hours 
while  a  long  line  of  visitors  was  passing  him.  Now  and 
then  he  paused  to  tell  a  story  or  to  exchange  a  reminis- 
cence. It  would  have  been  impossible  for  him  to  shake 
hands  with  all  who  came,  and  hundreds,  wishing  to  avoid 
fatiguing  the  distinguished  host,  were  in  the  habit  of 
leaving  their  cards  and  then  retiring.  Strangers  who 
occasionally  attended  these  affairs  were  amazed  at  the 
demonstration  of  the  complete  respect  and  warm  affec- 
tion on  the  part  of  the  people,  without  regard  to  religious 
belief,  for  one  whom  they  esteemed  above  all  as  a  man 
as  much  as  a  churchman,  catholic  in  the  broad  sense  of 
that  term. 

As  any  one  who  chose  to  come  could  attend  these  re- 
ceptions, embarrassing  incidents  arose  occasionally.  At 
one  of  them,  twelve  girls  dressed  in  white  and  wearing 
broad  red  sashes  appeared.  They  marched  compactly 
up  the  center  of  the  room  and  knelt  before  the  Cardinal. 
One  of  them  who  spoke  for  the  group  said : 

"We  represent  the  Independent  Polish  Church,  and 
we  come  before  you  to  ask  that  you  take  us  all  back  into 
the  Catholic  Church,  which  we  regret  with  all  our  hearts 
having  left." 

The  people  of  the  church  in  question,  after  many 
stormy  dissensions,  had  previously  appealed  to  Gibbons 
to  be  restored  to  the  Catholic  Church  in  a  body,  desiring 
to  continue  the  use  of  their  own  place  of  worship  under 
new  conditions.  He  had  taken  the  stand  that  he  could 
not  assume  the  burden  of  the  church  property,  and  that 
the  members,  as  individuals,  should  join  one  of  the  other 
churches  in  the  neighborhood,  where  there  was  ample 


room  for  them.    The  visit  of  the  girls  had  been  planned, 
it  developed,  as  a  final  appeal. 

Gibbons,  preserving  his  composure,  asked  the  spokes- 

"Did  you  go  to  Mass  this  morning,  my  child*?" 

"Yes,"  she  replied. 

"Where*?"  he  asked. 

"At  Holy  Rosary  Church,"  she  answered,  "but  it  was 
crowded  all  the  time — and " 

A  man  who  had  been  conducting  the  delegation  warned 
the  spokesman  at  this  point  to  be  careful.  Gibbons  raised 
the  girl  to  her  feet  and  said : 

"There  are  plenty  of  churches  for  all  of  you  to  at- 
tend.   I  thank  you  for  your  kindness." 

Some  flowers  and  a  silk  banner  which  the  girls  had 
brought  were  deposited  upon  a  table,  and  they  departed, 
while  the  reception  proceeded  as  before. 

Gibbons  was  also  accustomed  to  hold  New  Year  re- 
ceptions in  Washington,  at  which  members  of  the  cabi- 
net. Justices  of  the  Supreme  Court,  members  of  the 
Senate  and  House  of  Representatives,  officers  of  the 
Army  and  Navy  and  foreign  envoys  were  always  present. 
He  attached  great  importance  to  all  of  his  duties  in 
Washington,  and  when  some  high  ecclesiastics  in  Rome 
favored  severing  that  city  from  his  archdiocese,  he 
obtained  a  promise  from  Pius  X  that  it  would  not  be 

One  would  have  to  go  back,  perhaps,  to  Pericles  in 
Athens  for  a  parallel  to  Gibbons'  overshadowing  promi- 
nence in  the  city  in  which  he  lived.  Of  those  whom  the 
attraction  of  his  fame  and  personality  drew  to  the  city, 


some  wished  to  greet  him  as  the  author  of  The  Faith  of 
Our  Fathers^  and  he  was  always  delighted  at  such  evi- 
dences of  the  wide  reach  of  his  appeal.  A  Swedish  noble- 
man was  one  of  those  who  called  upon  him  and  said 
that  he  had  become  a  Catholic  through  the  reading  of 
that  book.  For  many  years,  he  told  Gibbons,  he  had 
cherished  one  great  wish,  and  that  was  to  meet  the  dis- 
tinguished churchman  whose  treatise  had  brought  him 
within  the  Catholic  fold.* 

Probably  he  received  more  adulation  than  any  other 
American  of  his  time,  even  Presidents,  for  the  plaudits 
which  are  showered  upon  the  head  of  the  State  usually 
subside  in  a  marked  degree  after  his  term  of  office.  There 
was  never  any  sign  that  Gibbons  cared  for  these  things. 
Promotions  and  honors  even  seemed  to  weary  him.  When 
he  was  asked  upon  one  occasion  if  he  could  recall  which 
of  the  honors  conferred  upon  him  had  given  him  the 
greatest  pleasure,  he  said: 

"There  was  really  more  of  pain  than  pleasure  in  these 
events.  I  was  but  a  young  priest  when  I  was  made  a 
Bishop,  and  the  appointment  filled  me  more  with  appre- 
hension than  with  sensations  of  pleasure.  The  responsi- 
bility which  the  position  involved  oppressed  me  with 
anxiety.  Nor  was  the  anxiety  diminished  by  any  of  my 
subsequent  elevations.  Each  new  advancement  only  in- 
creased the  grave  sense  of  the  responsibility  which  it 

More  in  the  aggregate  was  written  about  him  in  maga- 
zines and  newspapers  than  of  any  other  American  in  all 

*  Smith   and   Fitzpatrick,   Cardinal   Gibbons,   Churchman   and   Citizen, 
p.  82. 


the  history  of  the  country.  This  was  an  index  of  the 
popular  estimate  of  his  place  in  the  life  of  America. 
Requests  for  articles  and  interviews  flooded  him,  and 
he  could  grant  only  a  small  portion  of  them.  During 
the  last  thirty  years  of  his  life  many  of  the  Associated 
Press  dispatches  sent  out  from  Baltimore  were  about 

He  made  no  attempt  to  control  what  was  printed  about 
him,  and  did  not  request  that  articles  obtained  from  him 
in  conversation  should  be  submitted  to  him  for  revision, 
although  he  was  willing  to  revise  them  when  requested 
to  do  so.  At  all  times  he  trusted  in  the  freedom  of  the 
press,  believing  that  to  be  the  best  corrective  of  popular 
error,  even  though  individuals  might  suffer.  Many  men 
and  women  connected  with  magazines  and  newspapers 
who  were  sent  to  him  to  obtain  interviews  became  warmly 
attached  to  him. 

Gibbons  had  a  strong  natural  disposition  to  exalt 
simple  manhood,  rather  than  rank  or  station.  He  made 
allowance  at  all  times  for  the  frailties  and  failings  of 
men,  provided  these  lapses  did  not  spring  from  wicked- 
ness. Scorning  affectation  himself,  he  wished  all  who 
came  in  contact  with  him  to  be  natural  and  at  their  ease. 
In  his  address  at  the  elevation  of  Archbishop  Farley  to 
the  cardinalate  in  St.  Patrick's  Cathedral,  New  York, 
he  said: 

'T  read  the  other  day  a  report  of  some  discourses  by 
eloquent  orators  of  New  York.  Those  discourses,  I  be- 
lieve, were  delivered  in  one  of  your  large  halls,  and  the 
object  of  the  speakers  was  to  refer  to  the  Cardinal 
[Farley]    during  the  various  phases  of  his  singularly 


beneficent  life.  One  of  the  orators  spoke  of  him  as  a 
priest;  another  referred  to  him  as  a  Bishop;  still  another 
as  an  Archbishop;  and  the 'fourth  as  a  Cardinal;  but,  I 
think,  so  far  as  I  can  remember,  there  was  no  reference 
made  to  Archbishop  Farley  the  man.  After  all,  the  man 
is  everything.  It  is  not  the  Cardinal  that  ennobles  the 
man;  it  is  the  man  that  ennobles  the  Cardinal." 

Sometimes  he  cited  the  life  stories  of  the  Apostles  as 
showing  that  men  who  rise  to  great  heights  do  not  lack 
the  faults  and  weaknesses  of  human  nature.  He  empha- 
sized this  point  when  he  read  Furcell's  biography  of 
Cardinal  Manning,  being  struck  especially  by  the  letter 
in  which  Newman  told  Maiming  that  "I  do  not  know 
whether  I  am  on  my  head  or  my  heels  when  I  have  active 
relations  with  you."  ^  He  commented  that  it  made  the 
portrait  of  Manning  more  convincing,  in  that  he  was  not 
represented  as  superhuman.  Speaking  once  of  his  diffi- 
culty in  convincing  some  members  of  the  Hierarchy  and 
other  churchmen  who  were  on  sides  opposite  to  his  own 
in  acute  controversies,  he  exclaimed: 

"Ah,  the  saints  on  earth  I  They  are  sometimes  very 
trying.    But  the  saints  in  heaven — that  is  different." 

One  of  Gibbons'  habits  was  never  to  be  late  at  an  ap- 
pointment. Generally  he  arrived  a  few  minutes  before 
the  time  fixed.  He  was  always  early  in  attendance  at 
Mass,  and  set  an  example  to  tardy  associates.  On  rare 
occasions  he  chided  them  in  a  good-natured  way  because 
of  their  slowness,  but  usually  was  inclined  to  be  tolerant 
in  this  respect. 

The  Rev.  L.  R.  Stickney,  the  last  rector  of  the  Balti- 
more Cathedral  who  served  under  Gibbons,  said  of  him : 

'Purcell,  Life  of  Cardinal  Manning,  Vol.  II,  p.  346. 


"In  the  thousand  little  details  of  life  I  could  always 
approach  him  with  the  freedom  of  a  child,  certain  of  a 
patient  reception.  Now  it  was  a  book  to  be  autographed, 
now  a  photograph  to  be  signed,  or  word  brought  that  a 
visitor  awaited  him  in  the  reception-room.  Whatever  the 
request  and  how  often  soever  repeated,  it  was  always  met 
with  a  courteous  'Thank  you  for  your  trouble.' 

"Often  when  official  business  brought  me  unexpect- 
edly to  his  room,  I  would  find  him  at  prayer  kneeling  at 
his  well-worn  prie-dieu,  or  pacing  up  and  down,  his  beads 
between  his  fingers,  when  he  would  pause  for  an  instant 
to  take  count  where  he  had  finished." 

That  part  of  Charles  Street  where  the  archiepiscopal 
house  stands  has  been  transformed  in  part  by  the  en- 
croachments of  business.  Mansions  once  occupied  by  the 
scions  of  colonial  aristocracy  and  by  leaders  of  the  gay 
world  of  fashion  have  been  given  over  to  trade,  preserv- 
ing only  their  architecture  as  a  reminder  of  the  glory 
that  was  once  theirs.  The  Cardinal's  residence  stands 
in  the  dignified  elegance  of  older  days.  It  is  still  a 
favorite  object  of  interest  to  visitors;  and  to  hundreds  of 
Baltimoreans  who  walk  from  their  uptown  homes  to  the 
center  of  the  city  it  is  a  landmark.  In  front  of  it  are 
flower  beds,  which  blaze  with  beauty  every  Spring  and 
Summer,  when  passers-by  in  Gibbons'  lifetime  paused  to 
watch  what  they  learned  to  call  "the  Cardinal's  tulips." 
The  flowers  were  usually  of  different  kinds  and  colors, 
but  often  there  was  a  bed  of  brilliant  scarlet  tulips  which 
matched  the  color  of  the  Cardinal's  robes  of  state. 


Gibbons  was  a  master  of  the  social  graces  and  in  the 
exercise  of  them  was  probably  without  a  peer  in  his  native 
city,  where  they  are  cultivated  to  a  degree  uncommon 
elsewhere  in  America.  He  went  out  rather  frequently  to 
dinner  with  friends  and  said:  "I  dine  out  because  Christ 
dined  out."  Mingling  with  people  in  many  phases  of 
life  seemed  to  him  to  afford  opportunities  of  reaching 
them  which  it  was  his  duty  not  to  neglect.  Being  in- 
formed upon  a  certain  occasion  that  another  Archbishop 
customarily  declined  invitations  to  dinner,  he  remarked: 
"It  is  a  great  pity  that  the  Archbishop  refuses  the  invita- 
tions of  these  people.  What  an  opportunity  of  doing 
good  I"* 

Arriving  for  dinner  or  for  attendance  at  a  fashionable 
reception,  he  became  instantly  the  focus  of  attention. 
The  guests,  young  and  old,  crowded  around  him  to  shake 
his  hand  and  receive  words  of  greeting  and  compliment, 
which  few  knew  so  well  how  to  bestow  as  he. 

Usually  he  was  ready  in  many  instances  with  a  remark 
appropriate  to  the  personality  of  the  individual  who 
approached  him,  no  matter  how  far  that  might  seem  to 
be  removed  from  the  ken  of  a  Cardinal.  He  would  speak 
to  the  men  of  recent  incidents  in  their  lives,  perhaps  of 

'  Smith   and   Fitzpatrick,   Cardinal  Gibbons,   Churchman   and   Citizen. 



a  public  or  business  nature,  a  wedding  in  a  family,  visits 
from  relatives,  trips  out  of  town,  and  a  variety  of  sub- 
jects which  almost  bewildered  the  crowd  with  amaze- 
ment at  the  scope  of  his  information.  To  the  young 
women  he  would  speak  in  a  fatherly  fashion,  but  with- 
out any  appearance  of  patronizing  them,  noticing  little 
changes  in  their  appearance,  recalling  their  parties  and 
social  ties,  observing  if  they  appeared  in  good  health  and 
spirits,  always  leaving  the  impression  of  kindness  and 
personal  interest  as  if  he  had  singled  out  each  person 
from  the  throng  to  speak  to  him  or  her  individually. 
With  the  older  guests  he  was  inclined  to  talk  of  their 
children,  the  progress  they  were  making  at  school,  their 
growth  and  development,  when  he  had  seen  them  last, 
and,  in  general,  circumstances  of  the  kind  that  seemed 
to  appeal  to  them  and  to  him  most. 

Needless  to  say  he  was  soon  beloved  and  revered  even 
by  persons  present  who  had  not  known  him  before,  and 
what  he  said  and  did  during  the  time  he  remained  was 
the  chief  subject  of  interest  and  comment.  No  form  of 
etiquette  seemed  too  new  for  him  to  practise  with  ease 
and  grace,  unsurpassed  by  persons  with  whom  social 
forms  were  one  of  the  main  concerns  of  life.  He  never 
remained  after  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening,  and,  if  a  din- 
ner were  the  occasion  of  his  visit,  he  ate  but  sparingly. 

Usually  his  host  was  a  Catholic,  but  he  attended  many 
social  affairs  at  which  those  present  were  predominantly 
Protestants,  without  any  change  in  his  customary  de- 
meanor, or  apparently  in  the  affection  with  which  he  was 
greeted  and  the  distinction  which  was  accorded  to 


Naturally  he  could  not  accept  more  than  a  small  frac- 
tion of  the  social  invitations  which  were  showered  upon 
him.  In  every  case  his  object  seemed  to  be  to  go  where 
he  could  do  the  most  good,  or,  in  some  cases,  where  the 
urgency  of  the  invitation  was  such  that  a  refusal  would 
leave  keen  disappointment. 

A  wealthy  Baltimore  physician,  noted  for  the  dinners 
that  he  gave,  at  which  the  viands  served  met  the  most  ex- 
acting standards  of  Baltimore  gastronomies  (surely  this 
is  the  ultimate  in  eulogy  I)  was  exceedingly  desirous  of 
having  the  Cardinal  dine  with  him.  He  repeatedly  urged 
the  prelate,  who  was  his  long-time  friend  and  whom  he 
regarded  as  one  of  the  colossal  figures  of  the  world,  to 
come  to  dinner  at  his  house.  In  his  kindly  way  the  Cardi- 
nal put  off  accepting  from  time  to  time,  until  he  discov- 
ered that  it  would  give  his  friend  pain  if  he  failed  to 
do  so,  and  then  he  consented. 

On  the  evening  of  the  dinner  a  small  but  notable  com- 
pany of  leading  men  and  women  of  the  city  assembled 
at  the  house  of  the  physician,  who  had  put  forth  his 
utmost  exertions  to  prepare  a  menu  that  could  not  be  ex- 
celled. At  the  table,  the  Cardinal,  as  usual,  was  the  life 
of  the  party,  but  his  host  observed  with  distress,  as  the 
courses  proceeded,  that  he  was  not  actually  eating  any- 
thing, although  he  toyed  with  his  fork  in  the  various 
dishes.  Lynnhaven  Bay  oysters,  Maryland  terrapin  and 
canvasback  ducks  were  passed,  the  host  hoping  that  the 
famous  guest  would  be  tempted  to  eat  by  each  new  tri- 
umph of  the  cuisine,  but  he  did  not  do  so.  Mentally  con- 
fessing the  failure  of  his  efforts,  the  host  said : 


"Your  Eminence,  perhaps  you  would  like  something 
else  than  what  is  being  served.  If  you  will  tell  me  what 
you  would  care  to  eat,  I  can  have  it  prepared  for  you." 

The  Cardinal  paused  in  an  interval  of  his  brilliant 
conversation,  which  fascinated  all  and  at  the  same  time 
put  them  at  their  ease,  and  replied,  with  his  radiant 
smile : 

*Tf  you  have  a  nice  fresh  egg,  I  think  I  would  enjoy  it." 

The  host  was  almost  ready  to  collapse  for  a  moment, 
but  he  recovered  his  equanimity  and  ordered  an  egg, 
doubtless  the  freshest  in  the  house,  to  be  cooked  accord- 
ing to  the  Cardinal's  direction  and  brought  to  the  table. 

And  that  was  the  Cardinal's  dinner. 

Gibbons'  whole  life  was  sprinkled  with  incidents  in 
which  the  social  aspect  played  an  important  part.  He 
was  as  far  from  considering  little  things  beneath  him  as 
he  was  from  considering  large  things  too  high  for  him. 
The  smaller  details  of  life  did  not  crowd  the  larger  sub- 
jects out  of  his  mind.  It  seemed  to  be  an  inexhaustible 
repository,  in  which  everything  was  arranged  in  order, 
to  be  produced  instantly  when  occasion  called  for  it. 

In  a  sermon  upon  "Rewards  of  Faith"  ^  he  said:  "The 
most  commonplace  (of  our  actions)  are  generally  the 
most  useful."  He  proceeded  to  speak  in  praise  of  "those 
ordinary  courtesies  of  social  life,  those  little  acts  of 
Christian  politeness  and  charity  which  are  scarcely 
noticed,"  and  which  he  pronounced  "often  more  service- 
able than  the  most  brilliant  achievements." 

'Delivered  in  the  Baltimore  Cathedral,  November  i,  1914. 


He  seemed  always  able  to  say  the  right  thing  at  the 
right  time.  In  conferring  collegiate  degrees,  of  which 
he  bestowed  thousands,  he  was  as  inclined  to  remark  to 
the  recipient:  "Your  cap  and  gown  are  very  becoming 
to  you,"  as  to  say  "I  congratulate  you  upon  the  distinc- 
tion which  you  receive." 

Of  his  many  personal  friendships  there  were  two 
which,  according  to  his  own  testimony,  were  the  closest  of 
his  life.  Of  the  clergy,  his  strongest  tie  was  with  Mon- 
signor  McManus,  pastor  of  St.  John's  Church,  Baltimore, 
whose  death  on  February  28,  1888,  he  thus  recorded  in 
his  journal: 

"Monsignor  B.  J.  McManus,  the  dearest  friend  I  had 
among  the  clergy,  died  this  morning.  Deus  tibi  det 
pacem  suam^  amice  cordis  meiT 

McManus  was  a  particularly  good  example  of  the 
simple-hearted  priest,  a  type  which  always  attracted  Gib- 
bons powerfully,  probably  for  the  reason  that  he  saw 
in  it  something  of  a  reflection  of  himself.  He  singled 
out  men  of  this  type,  no  less  among  the  prelates  than  the 
clergy,  as  the  objects  of  his  closest  personal  ties;  and,  in 
fact,  it  may  be  said  that  he  even  sought  it  out  among 
the  laity  as  far  as  its  virtues  could  be  attained  by  them. 
Monsignor  McManus  was  a  man  of  works  rather  than 
of  words.  Of  deep  spirituality,  he  also  possessed  the 
executive  faculty  in  no  small  degree,  and  developed 
St.  John's  parish  as  one  of  the  model  communities  of  its 
kind  in  Baltimore,  providing  ample  buildings  and  equip- 
ment for  education  and  social  activities,  so  that  it  became 
in  a  way  a  city  within  a  city.  The  parishioners  found  in 
the  Church  and  the  many  features  of  social  work  con- 


nected  with  it  means  of  innocent  diversion,  as  well  as 
devotion;  and  the  parish  life  absorbed  their  interest  and 
attention  to  as  great  an  extent  perhaps,  as  it  is  possible  to 
attain  in  an  American  city. 

No  aspect  of  the  welfare  of  his  people  was  outside  of 
McManus'  keen  scrutiny,  or  failed  to  receive  his  atten- 
tion. The  example  of  his  own  godly  and  devoted  life 
was  an  inspiration  to  all  who  came  in  contact  with  him. 
He  was  a  frequent  visitor  at  the  residence  of  Gibbons, 
whom  he  accompanied  on  many  trips,  the  first  of  which 
appears  to  have  been  when  Gibbons  went  from  Baltimore 
to  be  installed  as  Vicar  Apostolic  of  North  Carolina.  A 
picture  of  McManus  was  one  of  the  few  ornaments  of 
the  Cardinal's  simple  bedroom  which  he  retained  there 
up  to  the  time  of  his  death. 

Of  the  laity,  the  closest  friend  of  Gibbons  was  Michael 
Jenkins,  a  member  of  a  Maryland  Catholic  family  which 
has  been  identified  with  the  State  from  early  Colonial 
days.  His  father  was  Thomas  C.  Jenkins,  who  at  the 
time  of  his  death  in  1881  was  the  oldest  pew  holder  of 
the  Cathedral  and  the  oldest  member  of  its  board  of 
trustees.  The  family,  under  the  leadership  of  Michael 
Jenkins,  built  one  of  the  most  beautiful  churches  of  Balti- 
more.^  He  was  honored  with  several  Papal  decorations. 

Many  accorded  him  the  place  of  the  foremost  business 
man  of  Baltimore.  The  trust  company  of  which  he  was 
the  head  was  one  of  the  principal  financial  institutions 
of  the  city,  and,  in  addition,  he  was  one  of  the  controlling 
owners  of  the  stock  of  an  extensive  railroad  system,  and 
of  one  of  the  most  successful  coastwise  steamship  lines. 

*  Corpus  Christi. . 


Tall,  deep-chested,  with  a  large  head,  he  looked  every 
inch  the  leader  that  he  was.  The  business  in  which  he 
was  so  successful  was  by  no  means  his  only  occupation. 
He  was  deeply  interested  in  letters  and  arts  and  gave 
freely  of  his  time  and  money  in  the  promotion  of  cultural 
influences.  As  treasurer  of  the  Catholic  University  he 
helped  to  rescue  it  from  its  direst  financial  experience, 
and  remained  one  of  its  firmest  friends  and  supporters 
up  to  the  time  of  his  death. 

Jenkins  was  ever  ready  to  offer  his  large  wealth  for 
the  cause  of  religion,  but  could  never  persuade  the  Cardi- 
nal to  take  anything  for  himself.  He  would  have  es- 
teemed it  a  privilege  to  purchase  for  Gibbons  any  luxury 
or  comfort  and  frequently  pressed  such  offers  without 
avail.  Now  and  then  the  Cardinal  would  accept  a  gift 
for  some  necessary  change  in  the  archiepiscopal  residence 
which  would  benefit  all  the  other  priests  there  equally, 
but  never  anything  especially  for  him  as  an  individual. 

This  long  time  friend  of  the  Cardinal  survived  to  the 
age  of  seventy-three  years,  and  died  in  Baltimore  in 
September,  1915.  Gibbons  said  that  the  loss  "com- 
pletely crushed"  him.  He  presided  at  the  funeral  in  the 
Baltimore  Cathedral  and  delivered  the  eulogy,  in  the 
course  of  which  he  made  a  vow  that  he  would  never 
ascend  the  altar  without  praying  for  the  soul  of  Michael 
Jenkins.  In  this  discourse  he  said  that  Jenkins  regarded 
himself  as  "not  the  absolute  owner,  but  the  steward  of 
the  v/ealth  which  Providence  had  placed  in  his  hands," 
and  that  "he  felt  the  force  of  the  axiom  that  our  greatest 
earthly  happiness  is  found  in  bringing  happiness  to 
others."     The  Cardinal  added: 


"The  death  of  Mr.  Jenkins  is  a  personal  loss  to  my- 
self which  cannot  be  fathomed.  His  departure  has  left 
a  void  in  my  heart  which  time  cannot  fill.  It  is  only 
the  vital  and  consoling  influence  of  religion  that  can 
reconcile  me  to  my  bereavement.  He  was  my  constant 
friend  and  benefactor.  He  even  anticipated  my  wishes 
in  lightening  my  burden. 

"O  beloved  and  cherished  friend,  thou  wast  a  prince 
among  merchants.  Thou  wast  an  uncrowned  emperor 
among  God's  noblemen.  I  loved  thee  as  dearly  as 
Ambrose  loved  Theodosius." 

Another  warm  friendship  of  Gibbons  was  with  Joseph 
Friedenwald,  one  of  the  most  conspicuous  members  of 
the  Jewish  faith  in  Baltimore,  a  man  of  many  charities, 
to  whom  benevolence  seemed  to  be  as  important  as  the 
extensive  business  projects  which  brought  him  wealth. 
The  Cardinal's  acquaintance  with  Friedenwald  began 
when  the  latter  was  president  of  the  board  of  trustees  of 
Bayview  Asylum,  an  institution  maintained  by  the 
municipality  of  Baltimore  for  the  care  of  the  indigent. 
Upon  one  occasion,  while  Friedenwald  was  presiding 
over  a  meeting  of  the  board,  a  petition  from  some  of  the 
Catholic  clergy  for  the  establishment  of  a  chapel  in  the 
institution  for  Catholic  inmates  was  presented.  Two 
members  of  the  board  were  Catholics  and  they  earnestly 
supported  the  petition,  but  it  was  opposed  by  every  other 
member  except  Friedenwald.  He  held  aloof  from  the 
discussion  for  some  time,  and  then  swung  the  whole  board 
to  the  side  of  the  Catholic  members  by  a  vigorous  en- 
dorsement of  the  project  of  establishing  the  chapel. 

Gibbons  heard  of  this  act  and  wrote  a  letter  to  Fried- 
enwald expressing  his  warm  thanks,  which  he  supple- 


mented  later  in  a  personal  conversation.  These  two  men 
of  strong  character,  who  agreed  in  many  things  outside  of 
religious  creed,  learned  to  trust  and  admire  each  other, 
and  their  ties  soon  deepened  into  affection.  Friedenwald 
became  one  of  the  privileged  callers  at  the  Cardinal's 
residence,  where  he  found  a  cordial  welcome  and  enjoyed 
delightful  chats  with  his  distinguished  friend.  While 
on  a  trip  to  Europe,  he  obtained  a  handsome  cane  of 
tortoise  shell,  in  the  gold  handle  of  which  were  secreted 
quotations  from  the  Scriptures  in  English  and  Hebrew, 
worked  on  vellum.  Upon  his  return  he  presented  this 
cane  to  the  Cardinal,  who  prized  it  among  the  most 
cherished  of  the  many  personal  gifts  that  were  made 
to  him. 

When  Friedenwald  was  stricken  with  a  fatal  illness  in 
1910,  Gibbons  visited  him  at  his  residence,  where  the 
meeting  between  these  friends  and  their  affectionate  con- 
versation produced  a  profound  impression  upon  the 
Jewish  family.    After  Friedenwald's  death  Gibbons  said : 

'T  lose  one  of  the  best  friends  I  had.  Religious  dif- 
ferences were  forgotten  in  the  friendship  between  us. 
He  was  upright,  true  and  faithful,  and  one  knew  him 
but  to  love  him." 

Friedenwald  bequeathed  $2000  to  the  Cardinal  in  his 
will,  much  to  the  prelate's  surprise. 

Gibbons'  trait  of  overwhelming  determination  was 
shown  strikingly  in  the  rigid  manner  in  which  he  regu- 
lated the  general  outlines  of  his  life.  When  he  had 
reached  old  age  he  once  said  that  he  had  never  written 
anything  which  he  regretted.  It  was  his  intense  alertness 
of  mind  which  enabled  him  to  avoid  the  mistakes  com- 


mon  to  most  men.  Prudence  characterized  his  conduct  at 
all  times,  but  it  was  far  from  the  prudence  of  timidity. 
He  could  speak  and  act  instantly  with  a  discretion  that 
seemed  to  be  the  product  of  long  thought  and  medita- 
tion. Always  he  kept  in  mind  the  fact  that  an  immature 
expression  by  a  Catholic  prelate  in  America  would  be 
likely  to  do  great  harm  to  the  cause  of  religion.  That 
he  maintained  his  poise  when  he  said  so  much,  and  upon 
so  many  different  subjects,  was  extraordinary. 

The  atmosphere  of  religion,  or  rather  of  the  fruits  of 
religion  in  the  individual,  accompanied  him  everywhere. 
Sometimes  the  thought  must  have  come  to  him  with  con- 
siderable force  from  the  suggestions  of  others  that  his 
talents  might  have  enabled  him  to  attain  even  greater 
fame  and  power  outside  of  ecclesiastical  life.  There 
was  no  evidence  that  this  thought  ever  produced  any  re- 
gret on  his  part.  Speaking  on  his  seventy-sixth  birthday 
of  the  reflections  which  the  anniversary  called  up,  he  said : 

"I  am  contented ;  happy.  It  is  much  to  be  given  to  any 
mortal  to  be  able  to  say  that.  If  it  were  given  to  me 
to  live  all  of  these  seventy-six  years  again,  I  should  not 
wish  them  different;  I  should  be  a  priest.  The  calling 
of  a  priest  is  a  difficult  one,  but  there  is  sublime  happi- 
ness in  the  dedication  of  one's  self  to  service." 

He  saw  no  attraction,  he  said  on  the  same  occasion,  in 
the  work  of  a  representative  in  civil  government,  a  lawyer 
or  a  physician,  equal  to  that  of  an  "Ambassador  of 
Christ."  In  the  Church  he  felt  that  he  could  reach  the 
great  fundamental  issues  with  which  the  welfare  of 
humanity  is  bound  up  without  the  obscurity  which  so 
often  clouds  them  in  the  mind  of  the  time-server. 


With  all  his  winning  graces  of  personality,  Gibbons 
was  one  of  the  most  formidable  of  men  if  any  one  at- 
tempted deliberately  to  obstruct  one  of  his  important 
purposes,  to  take  improper  advantage  of  him,  or  to  cross 
him  unnecessarily.  In  such  instances  his  form,  usually 
slightly  bent,  would  straighten,  his  mobile  face  would 
assume  a  fixed  expression  of  irresistible  determination, 
and  his  eye  would  seem  like  a  flaming  torch.  This  mood 
was  rare  with  him,  but  it  was  in  evidence  upon  not  a  few 
occasions  in  the  total  of  his  long  life. 

It  was  sometimes  called  forth  by  persons  who  went 
to  him  for  purposes  of  intrigue,  attempting  to  make  use 
of  the  great  power  of  his  office  or  his  personal  power  for 
their  own  ends.  Some  of  these  persons  wished  to  obtain 
the  Church's  sanction  in  some  form  for  divorce  proceed- 
ings. Others  wished  him  to  use  improperly  his  influence 
over  other  churchmen  or  over  public  officials.  Still  others 
used  pressure  to  induce  him  to  commit  ill  judged  acts. 

Like  all  men  as  conspicuous  as  he,  he  was  naturally 
beset  by  no  small  number  of  persons  of  the  crank  type 
in  one  form  or  another,  who  possessed  sufficient  shrewd- 
ness to  obtain  access  to  him,  or  even  obtained  letters  of 
introduction  from  good  sources.  Many  men  tried  hard 
to  sway  him  in  behalf  of,  or  in  opposition  to,  some  or- 
ganization which  wished  to  derive  benefit  from  the  favor 
of  the  Church.  His  mood  of  resolute  resistance  to  dan- 
gerous opposition  was  in  clear  evidence  in  the  great  fights 
which  he  waged.  There  was  no  more  leonine  opponent 
than  Gibbons  when  aroused.  Those  who  thought  to 
cajole  or  trifle  with  him  soon  learned  this  to  their  cost. 


Gibbons'  relations  with  Protestants  were  marked  by 
complete  consistency.  He  was  never  known  to  speak 
uncharitably  of  them  or  to  them,  and  addressed  them 
all  as  "brethren."  Protestant  ministers  as  well  as  lay- 
men being  among  his  warmest  personal  friends,  he  showed 
no  hesitation  whatever  in  cooperating  with  them  in  good 
works.  He  was  obviously  willing  to  go  to  extraordinary 
lengths  to  avoid  countenancing  any  unkind  word  about 
those  who  differed  from  him  in  creed. 

On  one  occasion  when  a  group  of  Protestant  clergymen 
who  held  periodical  meetings  in  Baltimore  had  engaged 
in  a  discussion  which  bore  rather  severely  upon  the 
Catholic  Church,  a  friend  who  talked  with  him  on  the 
subject  expressed  condemnation  of  this  in  strong  terms 
which  seemed  to  call  for  some  response  by  Gibbons.  The 
Cardinal  struggled  within  himself  between  the  desire 
not  to  pain  his  friend  by  complete  silence  on  the  subject, 
and  a  counterbalancing  desire  to  say  nothing  which  might 
appear  to  be  uncharitable  to  Protestants.  As  the  friend 
proceeded  with  his  denunciation,  it  seemed  almost  too 
much  to  expect  of  human  nature  for  the  Cardinal  not 
to  make  some  kind  of  a  response.  At  length  he  said,  with 
the  utmost  forgiveness  apparent  in  his  manner  as  well 
as  his  voice:  "Well,  you  know  these  ministers  have  to 
find  topics  to  discuss  at  their  meetings."     This  was  the 



nearest  approach,  according  to  one  intimately  acquainted 
with  him,  which  he  was  ever  known  to  make  toward  un- 
friendly comment  upon  Protestants. 

His  general  attitude  in  reference  to  the  subject  was 
illustrated  in  a  Christmas  greeting  which  he  was  asked 
to  prepare  in  1911.    The  greeting  read : 

"To  all  Christian  brethren,  a  Merry  Christmas.  With 
the  New  Year  may  there  dawn  a  reign  of  peace  among 
the  nations  of  the  world. 

"James  Cardinal  Gibbons." 

His  stand  in  this  respect  was  all  the  more  conspicuous, 
because  he  was  the  modern  "Defender  of  the  Faith,"  his 
book,  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers,  having  earned  that  title 
for  him  preeminently. 

He  never  sought  precedence  in  assemblages  where 
Protestant  Bishops  were  present,  but  he  himself  bore 
testimony  to  the  fact  that  he  never  failed  to  receive  it  on 
such  occasions.  One  of  the  many  instances  when  this 
question  was  directly  presented  to  him  was  at  the  dedi- 
cation of  a  site  for  an  industrial  exposition  which  it  was 
proposed  to  hold  in  Baltimore.  Bishop  Paret,  of  the 
Protestant  Episcopal  diocese  of  Maryland,  a  stanch  up- 
holder of  his  own  faith,  who  was  sometimes  disposed  to 
be  punctilious  in  asserting  its  prerogatives,  was  standing 
near  the  Cardinal  when  the  procession  for  the  dedication 
exercises  was  about  to  form.  Perhaps  embarrassed  for  a 
moment,  he  turned  to  the  Cardinal  and  said : 

"Your  Eminence,  I  do  not  know  what  is  the  custom  in 
your  church,  but  in  my  church  the  inferior  precedes  the 

With  his  beaming  smile  the  Cardinal  replied:  "My 


dear  brother,  we  will  walk  together,"  and  he  took  Bishop 
Paret's  arm  as  the  procession  moved. 

It  will  be  observed  that  the  Bishop  addressed  him  as 
"your  Eminence,"  which  complied  with  ecclesiastical 
etiquette.  The  Cardinal,  not  wishing  to  address  the 
Bishop  by  an  inferior  title,  or  by  any  shading  of  words 
to  indicate  that  the  question  of  precedence  was  involved, 
called  him  "my  dear  brother." 

One  evening  while  the  Cardinal  was  chatting  with  a 
friend  in  the  quietude  of  his  study,  the  subject  of  the 
relative  precedence  of  civil  and  ecclesiastical  authorities 
on  public  occasions,  then  recently  brought  to  public  at- 
tention by  an  incident  in  which  he  was  not  a  participant, 
came  up.  The  Cardinal  sprang  up  from  his  chair,  re- 
marking:   "I  will  show  you  my  rule  in  such  matters." 

Walking  to  a  bookshelf  he  took  out  a  copy  of  the 
Bible  and  read  the  following  from  the  fourteenth  chap- 
ter of  St.  Luke : 

"And  it  came  to  pass,  when  Jesus  went  into  the  house 
of  one  of  the  chief  of  the  Pharisees  on  the  Sabbath  day 
to  eat  bread  that  they  watched  him. 

"And  he  spoke  a  parable  also  to  them  that  were  in- 
vited, marking  how  they  chose  the  first  seats  at  the  table, 
saying  to  them : 

"When  thou  art  invited  to  a  wedding,  sit  not  down  in 
the  first  place;  lest  perhaps  one  more  honorable  than  thou 
be  invited  by  him; 

"And  he  that  invited  thee  and  him  come  and  say  to 
thee:  Give  this  man  place.  And  then  thou  begin  with 
shame  to  take  the  lowest  place. 

"But  when  thou  art  invited,  go  and  sit  down  in  the 
lowest  place;  that  when  he  that  invited  thee  cometh. 


he  may  say  to  thee :    Friend,  go  up  higher.    Then  shalt 

thou  have  glory  before  them  that  sit  at  table  with  thee. 

"Because  every  one   that   exalteth  himself  shall  be 

humbled ;  and  he  that  humbleth  himself  shall  be  exalted." 

His  liberality  of  view  in  regard  to  Protestants  was 
strikingly  shown  in  January,  1906,  when  the  Baltimore 
committee  of  the  Prohibition  Party  arranged  a  meeting 
in  honor  of  W.  H.  Berry,  then  State  Treasurer  of  Penn- 
sylvania, who  had  recently  been  elected  triumphantly 
after  a  struggle  against  political  corruption  in  that  State. 
The  Cardinal  promptly  accepted  an  invitation  to  serve  as 
a  vice-president  of  the  meeting,  being  desirous  of  giving 
public  recognition  to  Berry's  fight  against  civic  abuses, 
although  he  was  not  in  sympathy  with  national  prohibi- 
tion. The  committee  had  intended  to  hold  the  meeting 
in  a  public  hall,  but  later  changed  the  place  to  Eutaw 
Street  Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  one  of  the  historic 
buildings  of  Methodism  in  America,  identified  with 
memories  of  Francis  Asbury.  When  it  was  decided  to 
make  this  change,  the  committee,  fearing  an  embarrassing 
incident,  sent  a  letter  to  the  Cardinal  giving  notice  of 
it,  and  asking  if,  under  the  circumstances,  he  wished  to 
have  his  name  withdrawn  from  the  list  of  officers. 

"The  holding  of  a  civic  meeting  in  a  Protestant 
church,"  he  replied,  "does  not  excite  any  religious  scruples 
in  me.  I  gladly  allow  the  use  of  my  name  as  one  of 
the  vice-presidents  of  the  meeting." 

When  the  Cardinal  appeared  in  the  church,  he  was 
vigorously  applauded.  He  expressed  to  Berry  his  warm 
commendation  of  the  battle  against  political  evils  in 


Another  illustration  of  the  position  which  the  Cardinal 
occupied  in  the  hearts  of  his  Protestant  neighbors  was 
given  at  a  mass  meeting  in  Brown  Memorial  Church, 
Baltimore,  December  14,  1906,  called  to  express  disap- 
proval of  the  policy  of  Leopold,  the  Belgian  King,  in 
the  Congo  State.  One  of  the  speakers  at  the  meeting  was 
the  Rev.  H.  Grattan  Guinness,  a  leader  in  the  Congo 
agitation  in  Great  Britain,  who  had  come  to  the  United 
States  for  the  purpose  of  endeavoring  to  induce  the  Wash- 
ington government  to  join  England  in  intervention  in 
the  Congo.  As  a  rule.  Catholics  defended  the  policy  of 
King  Leopold,  reflecting  the  views  of  the  large  number 
of  missionaries  of  their  faith  who  were  actively  laboring 
among  the  natives.  Gibbons  on  several  occasions  had 
expressed  the  same  opinions,  but  he  was  not  active  in 
the  controversy,  and  at  no  time  interfered  in  it.  His 
general  position  on  the  subject  was  shown  in  the  follow- 
ing extract  from  a  letter  which  he  wrote  to  the  Rev. 
Edward  Everett  Hale  in  October,  1904,  expressing  his 
regret  at  inability  to  attend  a  peace  conference  in  Boston : 

"Had  I  been  able  to  be  present,  I  would  have  made  it 
my  duty  to  say  a  word  in  vindication  of  the  policy  of 
Belgium  in  the  Congo  State.  The  representatives  of  the 
different  powers  at  the  Berlin  Conference  were  compelled 
to  express  their  admiration  and  praise  of  the  noble  ideals 
of  the  founder  of  the  Congo  State  and  the  splendid  re- 
sults achieved  through  his  humane  policy." 

Guinness,  after  describing  to  the  meeting  in  Baltimore 
conditions  in  the  Congo  from  his  point  of  view,  said 
at  the  close  of  his  address : 


"The  United  States  and  Britain,  long  ere  this,  would 
have  got  together  and  put  an  end  to  the  atrocities  in  the 
Congo,  but  for  one  man  in  this  country.  The  one  strong 
hand  that  has  been  keeping  this  thing  going  is  none  other 
than  that  of  Cardinal  Gibbons." 

In  some  localities  such  a  statement  might  have  passed 
unnoticed ;  but  in  the  Baltimore  Church  there  was  a  com- 
motion in  an  instant.  Two  of  the  most  prominent  Prot- 
estant pastors  in  the  city  rose  to  defend  the  Cardinal. 
They  were  the  Rev.  John  T.  Stone,  a  Presbyterian,  pas- 
tor of  the  church  in  which  the  meeting  was  held,  and  the 
Rev.  Wilbur  F.  Sheridan,  pastor  of  Mount  Vernon  Place 
Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  one  of  the  leading  congre- 
gations of  that  denomination  in  the  city.  Stone  remarked 
earnestly  that  he  greatly  deplored  the  words  of  the 
speaker  in  reference  to  Cardinal  Gibbons.    Sheridan  said : 

"Pardon  me,  I  entertain  a  profound  regard  for  Cardi- 
nal Gibbons,  whom  I  admire  for  his  catholicity  of  view. 
I  cannot  think  that  such  can  be  the  case." 

Guinness  seemed  dumfounded,  but  there  was  abundant 
evidence  that  the  two  Protestant  ministers  were  express- 
ing the  emphatic  view  of  virtually  all  who  were  present. 
At  the  request  of  Stone,  the  English  speaker  modified  his 
statement  almost  immediately  from  the  platform,  and 
left  the  church  with  a  new  view  of  the  regard  in  which 
Cardinal  Gibbons  was  held  in  his  home  city. 

Upon  the  occasion  of  Gibbons'  forty-ninth  anniversary 
in  the  priesthood,  some  tributes  to  him  from  Protestant 
pastors  were  printed  in  a  Baltimore  newspaper.*     One 

'  The  Sun. 


of  these  was  from  the  Rev.  Dr.  J.  F.  Heisse,  formerly  a 
presiding  elder  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  and 
at  that  time  one  of  the  city  pastors,  who  said : 

"As  a  minister  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  I 
join  with  my  brethren  of  the  various  religious  denomi- 
nations in  congratulating  Cardinal  Gibbons.  .  .  .  He 
has  stood  as  a  towering  bulwark  for  civic  and  moral  right- 
eousness in  our  midst.  .  .  .  Many  years  of  happiness  to 
this  distinguished  prelate  of  the  Roman  Catholic 

The  tribute  of  the  Rev.  Dr.  H.  W.  Schneeberger, 
rabbi  of  one  of  the  principal  Jewish  temples  of  the  city, 

"Regardless  of  faith,  men  should  recognize  godliness 
wherever  found.  Cardinal  Gibbons'  life  has  been  a  con- 
stant expression  of  good.  He  is  a  living  example  of  un- 
selfishness. .  .  .  Long  life  to  the  grand  old  man  who 
'with  malice  toward  none  and  charity  for  all'  has  labored 
so  long  and  faithfully  for  the  uplift  of  humanity." 

People  of  all  creeds  instinctively  turned  to  the  Cardi- 
nal to  do  favors  for  them,  relying  upon  his  kindness  of 
heart.  Among  such  were  two  Jewish  residents  of  New 
York  City,  who  decided  to  make  a  tour  abroad.  One  of 
the  plans  which  they  formed  was  to  obtain  an  audience 
with  Pope  Pius  X,  but  they  were  at  a  loss  as  to  how  this 
could  be  arranged.  At  length  the  thought  of  soliciting 
Cardinal  Gibbons'  powerful  aid  came  to  them;  but  they 
realized  that  they  had  no  claim  upon  the  Cardinal's 

It  occurred  to  them  that  they  might  obtain  some  assist- 
ance from  a  friend,  Jacob  Epstein,  a  Jewish  merchant 


who  had  risen  from  small  beginnings  in  Baltimore  to  the 
proprietorship  of  one  of  the  largest  wholesale  establish- 
ments in  that  city.    They  applied  to  him. 

Epstein  consulted  one  of  the  Cardinal's  friends  who 
he  thought  might  have  some  influence,  asking  if  anything 
could  be  done  in  the  case.  The  friend,  esteeming  Epstein 
highly,  and  happening  to  know  that  the  Cardinal  also 
esteemed  him  for  his  numerous  works  of  benevolence, 
agreed  to  undertake  the  mission.  He  obtained  from 
Epstein  the  names  of  the  two  persons  who  wished  to  be 
received  by  the  Pope,  and  proceeded  to  the  Cardinal's 
residence,  where  he  conveyed  the  request.  Gibbons  an- 
swered without  a  moment's  hesitation : 

"I  shall  be  happy  to  do  what  Mr.  Epstein  wishes,  but' 
the  request  for  the  audience  must  come  from  the  Arch- 
bishop of  New  York,  as  the  persons  who  desire  it  reside 
in  that  diocese.  I  shall  write  at  once  a  letter  to  the  Arch- 
bishop, earnestly  requesting  that  the  favor  be  granted, 
and  I  have  no  doubt  that  he  will  comply." 

Calling  his  secretary,  he  dictated  a  letter  in  which  he 
conveyed  the  request  to  the  Archbishop  with  all  the 
emphasis  which  he  might  have  summoned  in  behalf  of 
one  of  his  closest  personal  friends.  It  was  soon  prepared 
for  delivery  to  Epstein.  Before  the  visitor  departed, 
Gibbons  remarked: 

"There  is  something  else  which  I  shall  be  glad  if  you 
will  take  to  Mr.  Epstein." 

Entering  his  bedroom,  he  soon  emerged  with  a  hand- 
some bronze  medal,  one  of  a  comparatively  small  number 
designed  by  a  sculptor  of  note  in  honor  of  his  then  recent 


golden  jubilee  as  priest  and  his  silver  jubilee  as  Cardinal. 
He  remarked: 

"Please  present  this  to  your  friend  with  my  compli- 
ments. I  am  glad  to  be  able  to  send  it  to  him.  Tell 
him  also  that  I  have  been  happy  to  comply  with  his 

The  Cardinal,  knowing  that  Epstein  was  a  lover  of 
art,  was  well  aware  that  the  medal  would  be  valued  by 
its  recipient  for  the  excellence  of  the  sculptor's  work  as 
well  as  for  other  considerations.  The  merchant  treasured 
it  for  this  reason,  but  still  more  for  the  kindness  of  heart 
and  broad  charity,  knowing  no  religious  barriers,  which 
its  presentation  represented  to  him. 

Gibbons'  fixed  rule  in  doing  good  was  to  make  no  dis- 
tinction between  those  who  thought  as  he  did  and  those 
who  thought  differently.  The  greater  the  need,  the 
greater  the  service  which  he  sought  to  bestow.  This  lat- 
ter appeared  to  be  the  only  general  distinction  which  he 
was  inclined  to  make. 


To  a  friend  who  inquired  solicitously  as  to  his  health, 
Gibbons  once  said :  "I  am  always  at  the  work  bench,  and 
am  too  busy  to  be  sick."  His  meaning  was  that  he  was 
so  preoccupied  that  he  desisted  from  his  labors  only  under 
the  pressure  of  prostrating  illness,  which,  in  his  case,  was 
rare.  He  suffered  from  almost  innumerable  attacks  of 
slight  sickness,  to  which  his  intense  concentration  upon 
his  tasks  prevented  him  from  yielding. 

The  general  functions  of  his  body  were  often  so  slug- 
gish that  he  worked  for  days  and  even  weeks  at  a  time 
against  a  serious  handicap  of  impaired  vigor.  One  of 
the  illnesses  from  which  he  suffered  rather  frequently 
he  used  to  call  "a  cold  on  the  stomach."  The  phrase,  as 
a  description  of  a  physical  condition,  had  been  in  general 
use  in  his  youth.  It  meant  that  he  had  caught  cold  and 
in  the  general  physical  decline  which  accompanies  a  cold 
the  stomach,  as  the  weakest  organ,  suffered  most.  His 
digestion  was  a  barometer  of  his  general  health. 

Believing  that  the  American  people  dose  themselves 

with  too  many  drugs,  he  often  counteracted  slight  illness 

by  doing  what  he  called  "starving  himself"  instead  of 

resorting  to  medicine.     On   these  occasions  he   would 

abstain  resolutely  from  food  for  considerable  periods,  or 

take  barely  enough  to  prevent  collapse.     Meanwhile  he 



continued  his  almost  incessant  work.  He  would  become 
extraordinarily  pale,  but  showed  no  other  sign  of  physical 
exhaustion,  and  his  mental  activity  was  wholly  un- 

With  him,  body  and  mind  seemed  to  be  divorced.  His 
intellect  was  always  robust  and  intensely  active  and 
appeared  to  be  ready  for  the  greatest  tasks  when  his 
body  was  scarcely  strong  enough  to  undergo  even  small 

Almost  all  of  his  slight  illnesses  were  traced  directly 
to  overwork,  and  as  he  possessed  marvelous  recuperative 
power  they  soon  passed.  Even  a  period  of  rest  as  scant 
as  five  minutes  would  refresh  him  to  a  marked  degree 
after  the  performance  of  a  long  and  fatiguing  duty. 

His  physician  watched  the  distinguished  patient  care- 
fully, but  Gibbons  often  failed  to  summon  him  when 
most  men  would  have  been  disposed  to  do  so.  This  was 
apparently  for  the  reason  that  he  wished  to  shun  all 
thought  of  invalidism,  and  thus  to  avoid  forming  the 
habit  of  considering  himself  sick.  Anxious  thoughts  of 
himself  and  of  his  own  comfort  and  convenience  had 
virtually  no  part  in  his  outlook.  It  was  evident  that 
he  formed  a  resolution  rather  early  in  life  to  do  with 
the  utmost  diligence  the  work  which  fell  to  him,  heed- 
ing not  the  consequences  to  himself,  and  that  he  was  per- 
fectly willing  to  pass  from  this  world  when  the  summons 
came.  He  preferred  that  when  it  did  ccHne  it  should  find 
him  at  the  post  of  duty. 

Exercise  in  the  open  air  gave  him  strong  muscles,  even 
in  old  age.  On  a  visit  to  New  York  when  he  was  well 
past  eighty  several  automobiles  containing  Church  digni- 


taries  awaited  him  at  the  railroad  station,  but  he  turned 
from  their  easy  allurements  and  proposed  a  walk  to  the 
archiepiscopal  residence,  a  mile  and  a  half  distant.  Soon 
he  was  swinging  up  Fifth  Avenue  at  a  fast  pace  with  a 
clerical  companion,  chatting  vivaciously  as  he  passed 
through  the  hurrying  throng. 

There  was  something  masterful  in  him  that  gave  the 
appearance  of  physical  as  well  as  intellectual  strength 
to  not  a  few  persons  who  came  in  contact  with  him  for 
the  first  time.  This  deceptive  impression  was  due  to 
the  exceptional  robustness  of  his  mind  and  the  vigor  and 
keenness  denoted  by  his  countenance,  which  distracted 
attention  from  the  comparative  frailness  of  the  body. 
His  motions  were  rapid  and  graceful,  but  there  was  in 
them  no  trace  of  nervousness  or  hurry.  His  nerves,  like 
his  mind,  appeared  to  possess  a  giant's  strength. 

In  conversation  when  he  was  seventy-nine  years  old  he 
spoke  thus  of  his  health  and  endurance  after  returning 
from  a  trip  to  Knoxville,  Tennessee,  in  the  course  of 
which  the  strain  that  he  underwent  was  excessive: 

"My  only  pastorate,  that  at  Canton,  nearly  broke  me 
down.  I  was  forced  to  officiate  in  two  churches,  several 
miles  apart,  on  Sunday  mornings,  and  as  I  celebrated  a 
late  Mass,  I  fasted  every  Sunday  until  one  o'clock  or 
later.  When  I  was  through  with  the  last  service,  I  could 
not  eat,  and  sometimes  felt  as  if  I  were  ready  to  collapse. 
Down  in  North  Carolina  and  Virginia,  I  habitually  over- 
worked and  overworried,  going  night  and  day. 

"After  I  succeeded  to  the  See  of  Baltimore,  I  had  some 
of  the  worst  strains  of  all.  The  greatest  was  the  Third 
Plenary  Council,  from  the  labor  and  responsibility  of 
which  I  did  not  have  a  day's  respite  from  the  autumn  of 


1883  to  December,  1884.  My  hands  trembled  so  greatly 
when  I  opened  the  Council  that  some  of  the  prelates  said 
I  could  not  last  through  it.  But  [this  with  a  smile]  I 
did  last  through  it  and  have  outlasted  every  one  of  them." 

The  visitor  to  whom  he  was  speaking  asked,  "Were 
you  equal  to  the  demands  upon  you  in  Knoxville'?" 

"It  was  a  long  trip  down  there — eighteen  hours — ^but 
on  Friday  night,  after  my  arrival,  I  had  a  good  sleep 
and  that  put  me  in  better  condition,"  the  Cardinal  re- 
plied. "On  Saturday  there  were  so  many  things  to  do 
that  I  became  nervous  and  when  I  retired  Saturday  night, 
sleep  could  not  be  coaxed.  I  had  begun  to  take  cold, 
my  limbs  were  seized  with  a  cramp  and  I  shivered  all 
over.  After  enduring  this  for  some  time,  a  profuse  per- 
spiration broke  out.  I  scarcely  had  two  hours'  sleep  that 
night,  and  as  I  had  to  preach  twice  the  next  day,  I  came 
near  vowing  that  I  would  never  be  caught  that  way  again. 
But  the  morning  was  bright  and  that  helped  to  pick  me 
up.  I  managed  to  get  through  everything  that  was  as- 
signed to  me  and  that  night  I  slept  nine  hours.  On  Mon- 
day I  was  ready  for  anything." 

The  visitor  inquired,  "How  does  your  ability  to  un- 
dergo physical  fatigue  now  compare  with  your  capacity 
in  middle  lifer 

"It  is  fully  as  great,"  the  Cardinal  said,  "except  that  I 
must  be  careful  not  to  load  myself  with  the  necessity  of 
too  much  sustained  effort.  I  do  not  know  to  what  my 
endurance  should  be  attributed,  unless  it  be  to  care  of  my- 
self and  to  moderation.  Today  I  was  reading  of  Mr. 
Spence  [a  Baltimore  financier  who  had  just  passed  his 
ninety-eighth  birthday]  and  those  things  seem  to  be  his 
reliance,  also.     I  observed  that  he  smokes  four  cigars  a 


day,  which  is  about  my  own  allowance.  No  doubt  I 
must  have  had  a  good  deal  of  vitality  even  when  I 
thought  myself  weakest. 

"There  is  a  record  of  longevity  in  my  family  on  my 
mother's  side,  although  my  father  died  comparatively 
young.  My  oldest  sister  is  still  living  and  my  mother's 
father  lived  to  a  great  age.  Perhaps  heredity  accounts 
in  some  degree  for  the  marvelous  way  in  which  I  have 
been  preserved. 

"Worry  is  what  kills.  My  direct  observation  through- 
out my  life  is  that  this  is  the  cause  of  most  of  the  physical 
breakdowns.  I  have  learned  not  to  burden  myself  with 
undue  solicitude  for  the  morrow." 

Gibbons'  eyesight  was  remarkable.  Even  in  age  he 
was  able  to  read  the  finest  type  without  the  aid  of  glasses, 
although  when  reading  at  night  by  artificial  light  he 
often  used  spectacles. 

His  favorite  refuge  when  he  needed  a  period  of  rest 
and  recreation  was  at  the  homes  of  the  Shriver 
family  at  Union  Mills,  seven  miles  from  Westminster, 
one  of  the  large  towns  of  Maryland.  There  were 
two  of  these  homes,  that  of  T.  Herbert  Shriver, 
which  the  Cardinal  used  to  call  "The  Lower  House  or 
the  House  of  Commons" ;  and  that  of  B.  Frank  Shriver, 
a  brother  of  the  former,  which  he  called  "The  Upper 
House  or  the  House  of  Lords."  They  are  situated  in  a 
region  of  rare  rural  beauty.  The  pious  family  life  of  the 
Shrivers  was  an  inspiration  to  Gibbons,  and  the  attention 
which  they  bestowed  upon  him  made  him  always  at  ease 
when  he  was  their  guest.  Of  simple  and  unostentatious 
habits  himself,  and  possessing  a  pronounced  social  in- 
stinct, he  always  felt  at  home  in  such  a  circle. 


He  is  shou-n  seated  with  Bishop  O'Connell.  of  Richmond,  on  the  porch 
of  the  residence  of  B.  Frank  Shricer  at  Union  Mills,  Md.  The  photo- 
graph ivas  taken  in  WIS. 


He  had  known  the  Shrivers  since  early  days.  Her- 
bert Shriver  had  attended  St.  Charles  College  in  prepara- 
tion for  the  priesthood,  but  a  serious  physical  injury  com- 
pelled him  to  abandon  that  career.  In  1868,  the  year  in 
which  Gibbons  was  made  a  Bishop,  he  celebrated  the  first 
Mass  ever  said  in  the  family  chapel  at  Union  Mills. 
Herbert  Shriver  survived  for  many  years  and  at  his  death 
Miss  Mary  O.  Shriver  presided  over  the  home. 

When  Gibbons  was  visiting  at  Union  Mills  he  said 
Mass  at  seven  o'clock  every  morning  in  the  chapel.  He 
wrote  much,  remaining  in  his  room  during  a  consider- 
able part  of  the  day,  but  took  long  walks  and  always  his 
after  dinner  nap,  besides  pitching  quoits  occasionally. 
He  excelled  in  this  latter  sport,  being  considered  one  of 
the  best  players  in  Maryland. 

In  the  evening,  after  supper,  the  Cardinal  joined  the 
family  group  and  chatted  in  high  spirits,  almost  as  of 
youth.  In  the  personal  affairs  of  the  members  of  the 
household,  including  their  progress  in  business  life,  he 
took  a  deep  interest  and  he  was  their  favorite  friend  and 
adviser.  Often  he  entertained  the  group  with  some  of 
the  anecdotes  of  which  he  seemed  to  possess  a  never 
failing  supply. 

For  a  number  of  years  one  of  his  favorite  resorts  for 
a  brief  rest  in  summer  was  Southampton,  Long  Island, 
where  he  was  the  guest  of  clerical  friends.  His  presence 
at  that  seaside  town  usually  attracted  a  number  of  visi- 
tors from  New  York,  who  attended  Mass  in  the  local 
church  when  he  was  present.  Near-by  are  pleasant  walks 
and  drives,  and  the  Cardinal  found  the  air  peculiarly  con- 
ducive to  rest  and  sleep. 


Still  another  refuge  where  he  found  rest  and  happiness 
in  later  years  was  the  home  of  Martin  Maloney  at  Spring 
Lake,  New  Jersey,  where  he  received  solicitous  attention 
and  often  found  relief  from  the  heat  in  the  middle  of 
summer.  Mr.  Maloney  was  a  Papal  marquis,  having  re- 
ceived that  honor  on  account  of  his  many  philanthropies. 

The  Cardinal  was  accustomed  to  spend  a  part  of  every 
Lent  in  New  Orleans  with  the  surviving  members  of  his 
family.  When  the  centenary  anniversary  of  the  See.  of 
New  Orleans,  the  second  in  the  United  States,  was  ob- 
served in  1893,  he  took  a  prominent  part  in  the  services. 

Often  duty  required  him  to  remain  in  Baltimore  in 
midsummer.  He  found  temporary  relief  during  a  portion 
of  the  day  by  sitting  upon  a  little  back  porch  attached  to 
his  residence,  where  there  was  usually  a  breeze,  and  where 
his  gaze  looked  out  over  his  beloved  Cathedral.  He 
would  chat  there  in  the  afternoons  with  callers,  clerical 
or  lay,  and  the  words  of  wisdom  and  helpfulness  which 
fell  from  his  lips  on  these  occasions  were  treasured  by 

The  extent  to  which  he  continued  his  activity  despite 
advancing  years  may  be  gathered  from  a  summary  of  his 
labors  in  1912,  when  he  was  seventy-eight  years  old. 
During  that  year  he  confirmed  7236  persons.  This  alone 
was  a  task  of  magnitude  for  a  young  man.  Before  or 
after  confirmation  ceremonies,  he  always  preached  and 
at  the  close  held  a  reception  for  the  parishioners.  The 
largest  class  which  he  confirmed  in  that  year  consisted  of 
636  persons.  He  went  through  the  long  ceremony  of 
raising  thirty-three  young  men  to  the  priesthood,  per- 
formed marriages,  baptized  a  number  of  persons  and  heard 


confessions  many  times  in  the  Cathedral,  like  any  priest 
of  his  household.  In  addition,  he  was  present  at  a  num- 
ber of  funerals.  He  conferred  the  pallium  upon  Arch- 
bishop Prendergast,  of  Philadelphia,  made  the  long  trip 
to  Wichita,  Kansas,  to  dedicate  a  Cathedral,  and  shared 
in  all  other  important  ceremonial  events  of  general  inter- 
est to  the  Church  in  the  United  States.  During  the  year 
he  did  not  fail  to  continue  to  take  part,  as  usual,  in  public 
activities,  the  most  notable  of  which  was  the  offering  of 
the  opening  prayer  at  the  Democratic  National  Conven- 
tion in  Baltimore. 

Late  in  Gibbons'  life  some  of  the  younger  priests  of  the 
Baltimore  diocese  wished  a  coadjutor  Archbishop  to  be 
appointed,  but  his  resolute  action  prevented  the  plan  from 
being  carried  into  effect,  although  he  consented  to  accept 
the  services  of  an  auxiliary  Bishop.  He  felt  fully  equal 
— indeed  there  could  be  no  doubt  that  he  was  equal — to 
the  task  that  he  carried  on  so  long  and  with  such  signal 
success  that  the  number  of  churches  in  the  diocese  was 
tripled  during  his  incumbency.  Like  many  who  possess 
in  a  marked  degree  the  traits  of  a  commander,  he  was 
not  disposed  to  share  his  authority. 

His  life  was  seriously  imperiled  by  a  driving  accident 
in  Druid  Hill  Park,  Baltimore,  July  30,  1891.  When 
he  was  elevated  to  the  cardinalate,  the  clergy  of  the  dio- 
cese presented  to  him  a  two-seated  brougham,  which  he 
kept  at  the  public  stable  of  James  Martin,  near  his  resi- 
dence, as  he  could  not  be  persuaded  to  maintain  a  private 
livery.  If  occasion  required  a  drive,  he  used  horses  hired 
from  Martin;  and  in  summer  he  sometimes  enjoyed  the 
air  of  the  park  with  Martin  on  the  box  of  his  carriage. 


On  this  occasion  Martin  was  driving  homeward  when 
the  pole  of  the  brougham  broke  and  the  horses  began  a 
mad  flight.  The  driver's  utmost  efforts  were  not  suffi- 
cient to  check  them,  but  he  was  able  to  keep  them  in  the 
road.  After  they  had  dashed  ahead  fully  three  quarters 
of  a  mile,  they  approached  a  large  stone  gateway,  which 
then  stood  at  the  Mount  Royal  entrance  of  the  park,  and 
Martin  guided  them  against  it,  stopping  their  flight  and 
severely  injuring  them  by  the  impact.  Gibbons,  who  had 
remained  calm,  though  he  fully  realized  his  danger, 
alighted  unhurt  and  was  taken  to  his  residence  in  an- 
other carriage  which  passed. 

He  was  keenly  conscious  that  the  driver's  courage,  cool- 
ness and  skill  had  saved  his  life,  and,  as  a  mark  of  grati- 
tude, presented  to  Martin  one  of  two  large  gold  medals 
which  he  had  received  from  Leo  XIII,  bearing  on  one  side 
a  bas-relief  portrait  of  the  Pontiff  and  on  the  other  an 
interior  view  of  the  basilica  of  St.  Peter's  in  Rome.  He 
had  these  words  engraved  upon  the  medal  in  addition  to 
the  previous  inscription: 

"Presented  to  James  Martin,  Jr.,  by  his  Eminence 
Cardinal  Gibbons,  August  i,  1891,  as  a  recognition  of 
his  courage  and  self-possession  displayed  July  30,  1891." 

For  many  years  Martin  continued  to  drive  him,  and  he 
always  felt  safe  in  the  hands  of  that  devoted  and  intrepid 

Although  accustomed  to  making  long  journeys  by  rail- 
road and  steamship  for  many  years,  he  was  never  injured 
by  accident  on  land  or  sea.  While  returning  from  New 
Orleans  November  16,  1899,  after  performing  the  cere- 


mony  of  the  marriage  of  his  niece,  Katherine,  a  daughter 
of  his  brother,  John  T.  Gibbons,  he  had  a  narrow  escape 
at  Pleasure  Ridge  Park,  near  Louisville,  Kentucky.  His 
train  was  in  a  collision  in  which  five  persons  were  severely 
hurt.  Gibbons  was  at  breakfast  when  the  table  was 
thrown  to  one  side,  the  dishes  were  scattered  and  all 
of  those  in  the  car  were  severely  shaken.  He  was  able 
to  retain  his  seat,  but  persons  who  were  near  him  were 
hurled  from  their  chairs  by  the  impact. 


Anecdotes  flowed  from  Gibbons  in  a  double  sense. 
He  was  one  of  the  best  of  story-tellers,  and  he  was  the 
subject  of  far  more  stories  than  he  told.  Wherever  he 
went  he  gave  rise  to  anecdotes  of  himself  which  threw 
real  light  upon  his  character.  So  exceptionally  large  was 
the  number  of  them  that  a  relation  of  some  of  those  which 
have  been  verified  will  throw  useful — perhaps  even  neces- 
sary— light  upon  his  personality. 

That  these  anecdotes  were  so  voluminous  and  varied 
was  due  to  the  force  of  his  individuality  and  to  the  versa- 
tility of  his  reach.  Most  of  them  were  circulated  by 
members  of  his  household  or  by  prelates,  clergy  and  lay- 
men from  outside  who  came  in  close  contact  with  him  in 
Baltimore.  But  wherever  he  went — Rome,  Washington, 
New  York,  Chicago,  New  Orleans  and  elsewhere — they 
seemed  to  spring  up  abundantly. 

His  life  was  full  of  the  picturesque  and  unusual  at 
all  times.  The  ordinary  ways  of  men  were  not  his  ways. 
His  marked  personality  was  evident  even  to  a  cursory 

*The  sources  of  the  stories  of  Cardinal  Gibbons  as  given  here  are 
conversations  with  him,  personal  observations  by  the  author,  accounts  by 
some  of  the  Cardinal's  closest  friends,  and  the  book  Cardinal  Gibbons, 
Churchman  and  Citizen,  by  Smith  and  Fitzpatrick.  All  of  these  stories 
have  been  fully  confirmed,  except  in  some  cases  as  to  the  dialogue,  which 
is   naturally  the   version   of   the   person  who   related   the   anecdote.     In 



A  large  proportion  of  the  stories  that  were  told  of  him 
concerned  children,  whose  artless  natures  he  fathomed 
with  rare  comprehension  and  in  whose  company  he  always 
took  especial  delight.  His  playfulness  with  altar  boys 
outside  of  church  was  a  commonplace  fact  to  his  entou- 
rage, but  persons  who  saw  instances  of  it  for  the  first  time 
were  much  impressed.  Two  of  these  boys  were  sent  to 
his  study  to  accompany  him  to  the  Cathedral  a  few  min- 
utes before  each  service  there  in  which  he  took  part.  Any 
one  unaware  of  what  almost  invariably  followed  their 
arrival  would  have  been  puzzled  to  see  them  approaching 
the  private  room  of  the  distinguished  churchman  beaming 
with  smiles  of  anticipation.  The  reason  was  soon  ap- 
parent. When  he  opened  the  door  in  response  to  their 
gentle  knock,  he  would  assume  a  half-quizzical  expres- 
sion of  playful  surprise  and  would  greet  them  with  some 
such  remark  as  this: 

"Gentlemen,  to  what  am  I  indebted  for  the  honor  of 
this  visits    Dee-lighted,  as  Mr.  Roosevelt  would  say." 

Knowing  the  fondness  of  children  for  innocent  plays 
of  make-believe.  Gibbons  would  keep  up  his  raillery  for 
some  minutes.  There  was  usually  a  little  time  to  wait 
before  starting  for  the  Cathedral,  and  he  would  sink  into 
one  of  the  big  chairs  in  his  room,  perhaps  beside  his  bay 
window,  and  amuse  the  boys  and  himself  in  the  interval 
by  propounding  conundrums  and  finally  giving  the  an- 
swers. The  lads,  in  high  glee,  showed  no  trace  of  em- 
barrassment, but  talked  to  and  laughed  with  Gibbons 

every  case,  however,  the  dialogue  represents  the  Cardinal's  customary 
manner  of  speaking.  A  number  of  anecdotes  of  him  have  been  given 
on  previous  pages  of  this  work  where  they  seemed  apropos  of  some 
particular  subject. 


as  if  he  had  been  a  benevolent  relative,  familiar  to  their 
sight,  who  knew  how  to  interest  and  please  them. 

After  the  service,  it  was  the  duty  of  the  boys  to  accom- 
pany him  back  to  his  residence.  As  they  reached  the  foot 
of  the  stairs  leading  to  his  study  he  would  often  put  his 
arms  around  their  necks  and  trip  rapidly  upward  with 
them.  Occasionally,  if  the  boys  were  small,  he  would 
lift  one  of  them  under  each  arm  and  carry  them  bodily 
up  the  steps.  At  the  top  he  would  place  them  on  their 
feet  again  and  go  with  them  to  his  study,  where  there  was 
a  further  happy  interchange  of  dialogue  adapted  to  boy- 
ish fancy.  Before  they  left,  he  always  gave  each  of  them 
a  little  present,  usually  a  book  or  a  box  of  candy. 

He  was  often  in  a  merry  mood  also  with  his  "door 
boys,"  the  young  ushers  who  received  the  cards  of  visi- 
tors and  took  them  to  him  or  to  other  members  of  his 
household.  A  friend  who  was  accustomed  to  call  upon 
him  frequently  in  the  evenings  usually  telephoned  to  the 
archiepiscopal  residence  in  advance  to  learn  if  the  Car- 
dinal would  be  at  home.  Sometimes  it  was  the  door  boy 
who  answered  the  telephone,  and  on  one  occasion  of  that 
kind  the  Cardinal's  friend  found  that  a  new  boy  had 
been  installed.  The  lad  carried  the  message  as  usual  to 
Gibbons'  room,  and  returned  with  the  reply  that  he 
would  be  at  home.  Upon  arriving  at  the  archiepiscopal 
residence  that  evening,  the  front  door  was  opened  for  the 
Cardinal's  friend  by  the  new  usher,  to  whom  he  said: 

"Did  you  tell  his  Eminence  that  I  would  call?" 

"Yes,"  was  the  reply. 

"What  did  he  say?"  was  the  next  inquiry. 


"Oh,"  the  door  boy  responded,  "he  said,  'Well,  have 
you  any  objection^'  I  told  him  'No';  and  he  said  it 
would  be  all  right." 

Most  of  the  door  boys  remained  at  the  Cardinal's  resi- 
dence several  years  each.  As  they  became  older,  he  ob- 
tained, where  it  was  helpful  to  do  so,  positions  in  which 
they  could  advance  themselves  in  some  useful  line  of 
work.  Not  infrequently  he  gave  them  gratuities  which 
he  called  "spending  change." 

His  interest  in  children  was  also  shown  by  his  solici- 
tude for  Catholic  institutions  conducted  for  their  welfare 
in  the  diocese  of  Baltimore,  and  even  for  the  individuals 
who  were  cared  for  in  those  institutions.  One  day  in 
June,  1911,  he  attended  a  meeting  of  those  interested  in 
St.  James'  Home  for  Boys.  While  there,  among  the  waifs 
of  the  city,  he  was  reminded  that  at  almost  the  same  time 
on  the  preceding  day  he  had  dined  with  President  Taft 
at  the  White  House.  In  the  course  of  his  visit  to  the 
boys  he  made  a  speech  to  them,  telling  them  that  Lincoln 
had  chopped  wood  and  Garfield  had  driven  a  mule  on  a 
canal  path.  "The  moral  of  this,"  he  said,  "is  that  boys, 
no  matter  what  their  condition  in  youth,  can  attain  high 
stations  in  life." 

He  was  accustomed  to  visit  St.  James'  Home  several 
times  a  year  to  talk  with  the  boys,  among  whom  his  per- 
sonal influence  amounted  to  much.  They  loved  and  re- 
vered him,  considering  him  a  stanch  friend  and  a  pat- 
tern of  manliness  and  courtesy,  as  well  as  a  model  Ameri- 
can, for  he  liked  to  inculcate  patriotism  in  the  young. 
In  addition  to  this,  he  received  reports  of  progress  at  the 


Home.  When  Brother  Leo,  the  director  of  the  institu- 
tion, called  upon  him  at  his  residence  at  one  time  to  pre- 
sent a  report  of  that  kind  Gibbons  asked : 

"How  many  boys  are  there  at  the  home'?" 

"Sixty-seven,"  the  director  answered. 

"How  many  are  at  work*?"  was  the  next  question. 

The  director  replied  with  satisfaction:  "All  are  at 
work,  and  employment  could  be  found  for  twenty-five 

Gibbons'  exclamation  "Thanks  be  to  God !"  could  not 
have  been  more  fervent  if  some  great  event  had  been  the 
cause  of  it. 

His  zeal  was  also  exceptional  for  the  welfare  of  the 
lads  at  St.  Mary's  Industrial  School  in  his  home  city. 
The  discipline  of  the  school  was  naturally  an  important 
consideration,  and,  as  at  St.  James'  Home,  his  direct  in- 
fluence was  an  important  part  of  it. 

An  incident  which  illustrated  this  occurred  in  May, 
1908.  A  little  before  that  time  some  incorrigible  boys 
who  were  in  custody  at  a  State  reformatory  in  Maryland 
had  escaped  from  the  institution,  and  it  was  charged  that 
when  they  were  recaptured  they  were  cruelly  beaten  with 
a  leather  strap.  The  Baltimore  newspapers  contained 
long  accounts  of  the  charges  and  of  the  subsequent  official 
investigation.  This  was  not  lost  upon  the  Cardinal,  who 
was  intensely  alert  as  to  everything  going  on  around  him. 

A  short  time  afterward  two  boys  at  St.  Mary's  Indus- 
trial School  caught  the  fever  of  trying  to  escape.  They 
overpowered  a  watchman  in  their  dormitory  by  means  of 
a  surprise  attack,  seized  the  keys  from  him  when  he  was 
helpless,  and  made  a  dash  to  open  the  way  not  only  for 


themselves,  but  for  the  others  in  the  dormitory  to  break 
out.  The  other  boys,  however,  gave  a  convincing  demon- 
stration of  their  loyalty  to  the  institution  which  was 
caring  for  them  by  pouncing  upon  the  two  would-be 
leaders,  taking  the  keys  from  them  and  giving  them  a 

The  next  day  the  newspapers  printed  full  accounts  of 
this  affair,  which  was  supposed  to  have  especial  interest 
for  the  public  mind  because  of  the  current  stories  charg- 
ing cruelty  at  the  institution  of  the  same  kind  maintained 
by  the  State.  Gibbons  read  these  accounts  with  deep 
anxiety.  He  learned  that  the  offenders  had  been  placed 
in  temporary  confinement,  and  that  the  final  action  to  be 
taken  in  their  cases  was  as  yet  undecided  by  Brother 
Paul,  his  close  friend,  the  director  of  the  Industrial 

Several  days  later  the  Cardinal  visited  the  school,  and 
confirmed  two  hundred  boys.  The  attempt  to  escape 
weighed  upon  his  mind,  and  he  sent  for  the  two  offenders. 
They  were  brought  into  his  presence  expecting  to  receive 
an  austere  reproof  which  would  add  to  their  humiliation 
and  cause  their  punishment  to  be  more  galling.  But  the 
simple,  kindly  man,  whose  red  cap  showed  his  rank,  did 
the  unexpected — to  the  boys.  It  happened  that  they  were 
Protestants,  for  though  St.  Mary's  is  chiefly  for  Catholic 
boys,  some  non-Catholics  were  committed  there  by  Mary- 
land magistrates  when  they  could  not  be  cared  for  else- 

Abashed  at  first,  they  listened  with  wonder  as  the 
Cardinal  began  to  speak  to  them  in  sympathetic,  fatherly 
tones.    This  was  the  substance  of  what  he  said : 


"Boys,  you  are  very  young  yet,  and  do  not  know  as 
much  about  your  duty  to  others  as  older  persons  are  ex- 
pected to  know.  Perhaps  without  realizing  it,  you  have 
done  a  great  wrong  to  that  poor  watchman.  He  was  here 
to  protect  you  at  night,  not  to  harm  you  in  any  way.  If 
a  fire  had  broken  out,  he  would  have  given  the  alarm  in 
order  that  your  lives  might  have  been  saved.  He  guarded 
you  while  you  slept,  that  no  harm  of  any  kind  might  come 
to  you. 

"The  school  does  not  keep  you  here  because  it  wants 
to  restrain  you,  but  because  you  have  been  adjudged  in- 
corrigible by  a  court  of  law,  and  the  school,  instead  of 
punishing  you,  is  giving  you  a  chance  to  learn  to  be  good 
and  useful  men.  You  need  more  than  anything  else,  just 
now,  the  friendly  aid  you  are  receiving  here  from  these 
good  Brothers.  I  am  sure  you  did  not  know  what  you 
were,  doing  when  you  harmed  your  own  protector." 

By  this  time  not  a  trace  of  the  bravado  which  the  boys 
had  formerly  shown  remained.  They  were  weeping  and 
thoroughly  penitent.  The  colloquy  continued  along  these 
lines : 

The  Cardinal — Brother  Paul,  I  think  these  boys  are 
sorry  for  what  they  have  done  and  will  never  do  it  again. 
I  will  undertake  to  say  that  they  will  be  good  boys  in 
future.    Will  you  let  them  off  from  punishment  for  me*? 

Brother  Paul   (overwhelmed) — Yes,  your  Eminence. 

The  Cardinal — I  am  very  glad  of  that.  And  now. 
Brother  Paul,  as  the  boys  of  the  school  have  all  been 
through  a  strain,  caused  by  the  trouble  that  is  now  hap- 
pily over,  will  you  give  them  a  holiday*? 

Brother  Paul — I  will,  your  Eminence. 

In  addition  to  the  holiday,  the  Cardinal  directed  that 
the  boys  be  regaled  with  ice  cream  at  his  expense.    Need- 


less  to  say,  no  charges  of  cruelty  developed  out  of  the 
escape  at  that  school.  Both  of  the  boys  became  useful 
and  respected  men. 

Gibbons  paid  occasional  visits  to  the  Juvenile  Court 
of  Baltimore  and  sat  with  the  judge  on  the  bench.  In  the 
case  of  a  particularly  good  judge  who  was  deeply  inter- 
ested in  children  and  was  both  merciful  and  helpful  to 
them,  he  urged  the  Governor  of  Maryland  to  reappoint 
him,  and  this  was  done. 

Some  parents,  knowing  his  interest  in  boys,  called  upon 
him  to  solicit  his  direct  help  so  that  the  publicity  of  court 
action  in  committing  their  children  to  institutions  might 
be  avoided.  In  cases  where  it  seemed  proper  to  do  so,  he 
was  always  disposed  to  give  them  cards  or  notes  to  re- 
formatories, which  were  sufficient  to  obtain  entrance  for 
the  boys  and  proper  oversight  of  them. 

At  the  Christmas  season  of  1912,  he  was  the  Santa 
Claus  for  one  hundred  children  at  St.  Mary's  Asylum, 
Baltimore,  presenting  to  each  of  them  a  toy  and  a  box  of 
candy  and  fruit.  The  children  there  were  only  a  little 
advanced  beyond  infancy,  but  they  were  old  enough  to 
give  a  simple  entertainment  under  the  direction  of  the 
Sisters  in  charge,  and  the  Cardinal  watched  it  through- 
out, seeming  to  take  delight  in  it.  When  the  Sisters  an- 
nounced that  he  was  "to  be  the  Santa  Claus,"  he  went 
upon  a  stage  which  had  been  erected  and  his  face  beamed 
as  he  made  a  happy  address,  adapted  to  childish  minds, 
expressing  his  satisfaction  with  the  excellent  care  which 
the  little  ones  were  receiving. 

A  man  once  called  upon  Gibbons  accompanied  by 
some  children  who  wished  to  present  to  him  specimens 


of  their  handiwork,  in  which  they  took  especial  satisfac- 
tion. It  pleased  them  to  think  that  they  could  give  these 
things,  simple  as  they  were,  to  the  Cardinal.  The  man 
who  was  with  them  made  a  short  speech  of  presentation 
in  which,  from  the  best  motives,  he  spoke  disparagingly 
of  the  value  of  the  gifts,  but  urged  the  Cardinal  to  re- 
ceive them  because  they  had  been  made  by  little  folk  who 
loved  him. 

Apparently  the  children  had  not  realized  before  that 
the  gifts  which  they  brought  had  no  especial  value,  and 
the  sudden  revelation  of  this  to  them  from  the  words 
of  the  speaker  almost  brought  tears  to  their  eyes.  Gib- 
bons' quick  observation  took  in  this.  When  the  address 
of  presentation  had  been  concluded  he  picked  up  the 
gifts  one  by  one,  examined  them  with  an  appearance  of 
admiration  and  exclaimed  over  and  over: 

"Aren't  they  wonderful  I" 

Every  trace  of  weeping  faded  from  the  faces  of  the 
children,  and  their  delight  knew  no  bounds  when  he 
made  a  graceful  speech  of  thanks  to  them. 

After  Gibbons  attended  the  funeral  of  Bishop  Van  de 
Vyver,  of  Richmond,  there  was  time  for  him  to  take  a 
walk.  He  decided  to  visit  the  institution  of  the  Little 
Sisters  of  the  Poor  in  that  city,  in  which  he  was  inter- 
ested, but  he  did  not  know  the  way  there.  Meeting  a 
boy  near  the  church,  he  asked  to  be  directed.  The  lad 
accompanied  him  to  the  institution,  and  they  had  a  cor- 
dial chat  as  they  threaded  their  way  through  the  streets, 
the  lad  thus  receiving  a  share  of  attention  with  which  men 
prominent  in  any  station  of  life  would  have  been  honored. 

Gibbons  was  always  glad  to  hear  the  confessions  of 


children.  The  daughter  of  a  Baltimore  banker  brought 
her  little  daughter,  seven  years  old,  to  the  archiepiscopal 
residence  on  one  occasion  for  her  first  confession.  One  of 
the  priests  attempted  to  receive  the  confession,  but  the 
child  was  tirnid  and  agitated  and  could  not  be  induced  to 
go  through  with  it.  At  that  stage  the  Cardinal  appeared 
and  inquired  what  was  the  matter.  Learning  the  situa- 
tion, he  spoke  kindly  to  the  child,  soothed  her  com- 
pletely, and  heard  the  confession  himself. 

When  the  Convent  of  the  Oblate  Sisters  of  Providence 
in  Baltimore  was  much  damaged  by  a  fire  ^  from  which 
160  negro  children  who  were  in  their  care  were  rescued, 
Gibbons  hastened  to  the  scene  and  consoled  both  the  Sis- 
ters and  their  little  charges.  Going  from  one  nun  to  an- 
other, he  spoke  words  of  encouragement,  and  promised 
to  help  in  obtaining  funds  for  the  rebuilding.  The 
children  had  seen  the  Cardinal  on  several  occasions  and 
they  crowded  around  him,  receiving  expressions  of  his 
sympathy  and  his  joy  at  the  fact  that  all  had  escaped 
in  safety.  His  presence  restored  calmness  and  courage 
to  them. 

A  husband  and  wife,  the  latter  carrying  a  baby,  ap- 
plied at  his  residence  one  afternoon  for  the  privilege  of 
making  confession  to  a  priest.  The  usher  at  the  door 
informed  them  that  the  priests  were  resting,  but  that  one 
of  them  would  be  downstairs  in  a  short  time.  The  hus- 
band persisted,  saying  that  he  lived  in  the  suburbs  of 
Baltimore,  must  return  home  before  it  grew  late  and 
could  not  delay.  The  usher  went  to  the  private  apart- 
ments in  the  house  to  learn  if  the  services  of  any  of  the 

*  1912. 


priests  could  be  obtained.  He  soon  returned  saying  that 
the  Cardinal  had  volunteered  and  would  hear  the  con- 
fessions.   This  plunged  the  couple  in  a  panic. 

"I  will  not  go  to  the  Cardinal,"  said  the  husband. 

"Neither  will  I,"  said  the  wife;  "why  did  you  get 

"The  priests  are  all  resting,  and  he  offered  to  come 
down,"  answered  the  usher. 

Before  the  couple  could  withdraw,  the  Cardinal  ap- 
peared. They  were  so  overcome  that  their  embarrass- 
ment was  painful.  The  Cardinal  simply  bowed  his  head 
and  neither  by  word  nor  act  added  ta  the  confusion  of 
the  penitents.  At  first  they  forgot  what  to  say,  but  at 
length  contrived  to  make  their  confessions  and  left.  Be- 
fore departing,  the  wife  said  to  one  who  was  near-by: 

"I  am  so  glad  that  I  went  for  confession  to  the  Car- 
dinal. It  is  a  great  honor,  and  he  was  so  kind  and  gentle ; 
besides,  I  feel  so  comforted  after  the  instruction  and 
advice  he  gave  me.  He  made  me  see  so  clearly,  and  is 
one  of  the  best  confessors  I  ever  met.  I  just  thought  that 
I  could  not  go  to  him,  but  now  I  would  not  take  anything 
for  the  recollection  of  this  day." 

Gibbons  was  always  pained  when  in  the  course  of  his 
many  journeyings  he  found  persons  who  were  embar- 
rassed— and  they  were  by  no  means  few — by  awe  of  him 
on  account  of  his  office.  A  story  was  told  of  one  of  his 
episcopal  trips,  in  the  course  of  which  he  took  breakfast 
at  the  home  of  one  of  the  principal  residents,  who  may 
be  called  Mr.  Jones.  Neither  the  host  nor  the  hostess 
appeared  at  the  table,  and  when  he  inquired  where  they 
were  the  butler  reluctantly  replied  that  they  were  too 


diffident  to  eat  in  the  presence  of  the  Cardinal.  The 
eminent  guest  sent  his  companion,  who  may  be  desig- 
nated as  Mr.  Brown,  to  make  inquiries. 

"What,"  exclaimed  the  host,  "take  breakfast  with  the 
Cardinal ■?  No,  sir!  I  wouldn't  know  what  to  do  nor 
what  to  say.  I  couldn't  eat  a  mouthful.  I  wouldn't 
know  whether  I  was  standing  on  my  head  or  my  heels. 
No,  sir!" 

The  host  was  told  that  the  Cardinal  was  one  of  the 
gentlest  and  most  unassuming  of  men;  that  he  had  been 
complimenting  the  cooking,  and  that  it  was  rude  to  refuse 
to  eat  with  him.    The  only  answer  was,  "No,  sir!" 

"You  don't  mind  me,"  said  Mr.  Brown;  "why  would 
you  be  embarrassed  by  the  Cardinal?" 

"Well,  Mr.  Brown,"  he  replied,  "you're  only  an  edi- 
tor, and  I'm  used  to  editors ;  but  there's  only  one  Cardinal 
in  this  country,  and  I  wouldn't  know  how  to  act  in  his 
company.    No,  sir!" 

"Well,  perhaps  Mrs.  Jones  might  like  to " 

"No,  sir,  Mrs.  Jones  wouldn't.  She's  just  as  upset  as 
I  am." 

"What  shall  I  tell  his  Eminence?" 

"Make  my  excuses;  tell  him  I  feel  honored  at  having 
him  as  my  guest ;  beg  him  to  make  himself  at  home,  and 
thank  him  for  inviting  me  to  sit  at  the  table  with  him; 
but  tell  him  I  couldn't  do  it.    No,  sir!" 

When  Mr.  Brown  related  what  had  happened,  the 
Cardinal  was  distressed  at  his  host's  unnecessary  agita- 
tion, but  made  the  best  of  the  situation. 

After  breakfast,  a  church  was  dedicated,  and  the  Car- 
dinal held  an  informal  reception.    The  local  pastor  took 


him  back  to  dinner  at  Mr.  Jones'.  The  meal  was  on  the 
table,  smoking  hot,  but  neither  host  nor  hostess  appeared. 

After  the  butler  had  served  dinner,  Mr.  Brown  re- 
membered that  the  Cardinal  was  in  the  habit  of  taking 
a  nap  at  that  time  of  day,  and  went  to  hunt  Mr.  Jones. 
The  host  was  found  marching  up  and  down  on  the  far 
side  of  the  garden.  Mr.  Brown  thanked  him  for  a  very 
good  dirmer,  and  then  said : 

"Mr.  Jones,  the  Cardinal  would  like  to  take  a  nap." 

"Oh!  I  have  no  bed  good  enough  for  a  Cardinal,  Mr. 

"The  bed  I  occupied  last  night  would  do  tip-top." 

"Would  it,  Mr.  Brown  ^  Well,  how  shall  we  get  him 
up  there*?" 

"You  go  up  with  him  and  show  him  the  way." 

"Me*?    No,  sir  I    I  wouldn't  do  that." 

"Well,  go  and  see  if  the  bed  has  been  made  up;  then 
come  down  and  tell  me,  and  I'll  show  him  the  way." 

"Oh!  yes,  I'll  do  that  gladly,  Mr.  Brown." 

The  host  ascended  to  the  bedroom  and  came  down  to 
report  that  the  room  was  in  perfect  order.  Then  he  darted 
out  the  back  door  and  into  the  garden  again,  as  if  an  ogre 
were  after  him. 

The  Cardinal  had  his  nap;  as  he  left  the  house  in  the 
afternoon,  there  was  no  one  to  bid  him  good-by,  the  whole 
family  being  still  in  hiding. 

One  of  the  many  persons  who  wrote  long  communica- 
tions to  the  Cardinal  concerning  more  or  less  abnormal 
ideas  about  religion  was  a  woman  in  the  West.  At  first 
he  paid  some  attention  to  her  communications,  but  as 
they  increased  in  number  and  length,  he  discarded  them. 


throwing  them  into  his  waste  basket  as  soon  as  he  opened 
the  envelopes  and  recognized  the  handwriting.  One  day 
a  Sister  who  assisted  in  household  duties  at  the  archiepis- 
copal  residence  said  to  him: 

"Your  Eminence,  you  tore  up  one  hundred  dollars  this 

Gibbons,  greatly  surprised,  learned  that  the  diligent 
Sister  had  found  the  remains  of  a  torn  one  hundred  dol- 
lar bill  in  the  waste  basket,  accompanying  the  fragments 
of  the  latest  letter  received  from  the  western  woman.  It 
appeared  that  the  woman,  hoping  to  attract  notice  to  her 
communications  on  the  part  of  the  Cardinal,  had  adopted 
the  expedient  of  sending  him  that  amount  to  be  used  in 
good  works.  One  of  his  friends  used  to  jest  with  him 
on  this  subject  occasionally,  saying: 

"Your  Eminence,  have  you  torn  up  any  hundred  dol- 
lar bills  this  morning'?" 

The  Rev.  Dr.  H.  Allen  Tupper,  formerly  a  Baptist 
minister  in  Baltimore,  was  greatly  impressed  one  day  by 
seeing  the  Cardinal  pause  on  the  street  to  speak  to  a 
ragged  and  dirty  negro  boy.  The  Cardinal  put  his  hand 
on  the  boy's  head,  smiled,  bestowed  a  few  kindly  words, 
and  gave  him  a  blessing.  "What  a  picture  for  an  artist  I" 
Dr.  Tupper  commented  in  relating  the  story. 

Another  negro  boy,  who  worked  for  a  time  at  Gibbons' 
residence,  was  a  brother  of  twins.  In  his  exultation  he 
used  to  tell  stories  of  these  twins  to  the  Cardinal,  who 
was  always  willing  to  listen  to  them.  When  the  Car- 
dinal would  see  the  boy  in  the  morning  he  would  ask: 
"How  are  the  twins  coming  along  *?" 

Later  one  of  the  twins  died,  and  the  brother  was  grief- 


stricken.  The  same  day  while  returning  in  a  motor  car 
from  a  church  celebration  in  Baltimore,  wearing  his  robes, 
the  Cardinal  directed  that  the  vehicle  be  driven  to  the 
home  of  the  mother  of  the  twins,  in  an  alley,  for  the 
purpose  of  offering  her,  as  he  said,  "a  few  consoling 
words."  His  presence  in  such  a  locality  naturally  caused 
a  commotion,  and  a  crowd  rushed  to  the  little  house  when 
the  Cardinal  went  inside  and  expressed  his  deep  sympathy 
for  the  negro  family  in  his  inimitable  way. 

One  of  the  rare  instances  in  which  Gibbons  adminis- 
tered stern  reproofs  was  when  a  priest  in  the  archiepisco- 
pal  household  presented  to  him  a  certain  letter  for  signa- 
ture. He  declined  to  sign  it,  saying  that  little  or  no  judg- 
ment was  displayed  in  asking  him  to  do  so.  A  short  time 
later  Gibbons  went  to  the  door  of  the  priest's  study, 
opened  it  and  said :  "Father,  I  wish  to  apologize  for  hav- 
ing spoken  to  you  so  sharply  this  morning." 

While  he  was  visiting  in  New  Orleans,  a  young  mar- 
ried woman  obtained  her  father's  permission  to  give  a 
dinner  at  the  latter's  home  in  his  honor,  and  invited  a 
number  of  distinguished  guests,  including  Archbishop 
Janssens,  several  clergymen  and  a  number  of  persons 
socially  prominent  in  the  city.  Gibbons  accepted.  When 
he  arrived  he  found  that  the  dinner  table  was  decorated 
to  an  unusual  degree  with  flowers.  One  of  the  impor- 
tant guests  said  to  the  hostess:  "Take  away  the  flowers; 
I  cannot  see  the  people  for  them." 

She  was  much  embarrassed  at  the  lack  of  appreciation 
of  her  effort  to  beautify  the  table,  but  began  to  remove 
the  flowers  when  Gibbons,  observing  her  distress,  greatly 


lessened  it  by  saying  to  her  with  one  of  his  beaming 
smiles : 

"Madam,  the  light  of  your  countenance  is  sufficient 
for  us." 

At  a  dinner  in  Washington  at  which  a  number  of 
United  States  senators  were  present,  Senator  Bayard, 
afterward  Secretary  of  State,  deplored  in  a  conversation 
with  Gibbons  that  the  public  addresses  of  legislators  were 
delivered  under  restrictions  that  were  often  severe.  He 

"Ministers  of  religion  like  yourself  have  a  great  ad- 
vantage over  us.  You  can  talk  as  long  as  you  please,  you 
can  say  what  you  please,  you  can  upbraid  if  you  please, 
and  you  are  heard  with  silent  respect  without  fear  of 
contradiction,  while  we  are  liable  to  be  interrupted  by 
frequent  rejoinders  and  interpellations." 

The  Cardinal  playfully  replied:  "We  have  a  clear 
field  because  we  are  always  expected  to  tell  the  truth, 
the  whole  truth  and  nothing  but  the  truth." 

Another  story  told  of  him  is  that  he  once  summoned 
to  his  residence  a  man  who  held  a  high  position  in  public 
life  in  Baltimore  to  say  that  one  of  his  friends,  a  man  of 
education,  refinement  and  character,  was  in  need  of  a 
position.  The  official  promptly  responded :  "Your  Emi- 
nence, send  your  friend  to  me,  and  I  will  have  a  position 
ready  for  him."  To  his  surprise,  he  found  that  the  Car- 
dinal's friend  was  a  retired  Protestant  minister. 

When  Gibbons  preached  at  the  Baltimore  Cathedral, 
he  almost  always  asked  the  choir  to  sing  "Lead,  Kindly 
Light."  This  was  his  favorite  hymn.  It  expressed  at 
once  the  philosophy  of  his  life  and  the  unfailing  hope 


which  sustained  him.  When  he  preached,  the  leader  of 
the  choir  was  always  alert  to  receive  the  Cardinal's  sig- 
nal to  give  the  beautiful  words  and  music  of  Cardinal 
Newman's  consoling  verses. 


In  considering  the  elements  of  greatness  which  Car- 
dinal Gibbons  possessed — and  all  of  those  who  knew 
him  with  sufficient  intimacy  to  judge  attributed  to  him 
at  least  some  of  those  elements — we  are  confronted  at  the 
outset  by  the  fact  that  many  persons  found  him  by  no 
means  easy  to  understand.  His  nature  seemed  to  be  too 
wide  and  deep  for  comprehension  at  one  glance,  or  indeed 
at  many  glances.  This  was  all  the  more  evident  because 
he  habitually  concealed  his  strongest  traits  until  there 
was  the  necessity  to  use  them. 

To  those  behind  the  scenes,  as  it  were,  it  was  apparent 
that  one  of  his  chief  concerns,  amounting  to  a  clearly 
marked  personal  characteristic,  was  to  avoid  the  appear- 
ance of  overshadowing  others.  He  wished  no  one,  even 
the  humblest,  to  be  constrained  or  embarrassed  in  his 
presence  and  to  a  degree  truly  extraordinary  was  "all 
things  to  all  men."  Those  of  the  largest  mold  who  came 
in  close  contact  with  him — Popes,  Presidents,  statesmen, 
men  of  great  affairs  generally — rated  him  highest,  while 
a  child  with  whom  he  might  romp  would  be  disposed  to 
say  that  he  was  only  an  excellent  playmate.  It  is  sig- 
nificant that  among  those  who  cherished  the  highest  ad- 
miration for  him  and  reposed  the  greatest  confidence  in 



his  powers  were  Leo  XIII,  Manning,  Rampolla,  Cleve- 
land and  Roosevelt. 

In  estimating  the  elements  of  greatness  which  he  pos- 
sessed we  may  divide  the  aspects  in  which  he  presented 
himself  to  his  contemporaries  into  the  classifications  of 
character,  general  achievement,  churchmanship,  states- 
manship, authorship,  intellect  and  personality.  Light 
upon  these  points  in  detail  will  afford  some  perspective 
for  a  general  and  composite  opinion. 

Americans  have  shown  a  marked  preference  for  con- 
sidering the  possession  of  high  and  strong  character  as 
the  first  essential  of  true  greatness.  Their  history  as  a 
nation  affords  ample  evidence  of  a  certain  difference  of 
viewpoint  in  this  respect  from  Europeans.  Their  favor- 
ites, obviously,  are  Washington  and  Lincoln.  In  dwell- 
ing upon  the  merits  of  these  men  the  sublimity  of  their 
characters  is  usually  emphasized  above  all  other  consid- 
erations. The  benignity,  steadfastness,  unselfish  patri- 
otism and  fortitude  of  Washington  are  held  up  as  an 
example  to  every  pupil  in  the  schools.  Lincoln's  bound- 
less pity,  his  "malice  toward  none  and  charity  for  all," 
the  self-effacing  modesty  which  caused  him  to  dwell 
upon  his  humble  origin  when  he  had  risen  to  heights  of 
greatness  in  the  world's  eyes,  and  his  patient  endurance 
of  adversity  overshadow  in  the  public  mind  the  execu- 
tive gifts  which  he  displayed  during  four  of  the  most  try- 
ing years  of  war  which  man  ever  faced.  Looking  back 
to  the  beginning  of  the  national  history  of  America,  the 
first  men  whom  the  people  considered  great — Washing- 
ton, Franklin,  Jefferson  and  Hamilton — were  distin- 
guished preeminently  by  traits  of  character. 


Gibbons,  though  he  often  heard  others  call  him  great, 
never  showed  any  wish  to  be  so  considered.  Had  he  done 
so,  undoubtedly  he  would  have  made  it  plain  that  he 
preferred  to  be  deemed  great  in  character  and  that  he 
esteemed  lightly,  or  not  at  all,  a  verdict  of  greatness  in 
any  other  respect. 

The  aspect  of  his  character  which  was  most  evident 
to  every  observer  was  simplicity.  That  simplicity  was 
profound,  all  pervading.  He  never  lost  it  in  his  greatest 
moments  or  those  which  were  most  commonplace.  His 
thoughts  moved  along  easy  and  direct  channels.  No 
intricate  and  tortuous  bed  obstructed  their  limpid 
stream.  His  mind  reduced  everything — acts,  motives, 
projects  of  great  potency  to  humanity  no  less  than  the 
primary  problems  of  his  office  as  a  priest — to  their  ele- 
ments. He  was  almost  childlike — indeed,  was  childlike 
at  many  times  and  regarding  many  things.  If  it  were  left 
to  the  judgment  of  those  who  were  closest  to  him  when 
he  was  in  his  prime  to  say  whether  or  not  his  simplicity 
amounted  to  sublimity,  their  answer  would  be  an  almost 
unanimous  affirmative. 

A  strongly  defined  trait  which  blended  with  his  sim- 
plicity was  his  unselfishness.  For  himself  he  sought 
nothing  of  reward,  even  in  honor  and  fame,  of  which  at 
times,  indeed,  he  appeared  to  possess  too  much  for  his 
liking.  He  rigidly  excluded  from  his  personal  horizon 
all  thoughts  of  ease  or  luxury,  and  devoted  himself  with 
single-minded  purpose  to  labors  in  behalf  of  others,  whose 
fruits  would  be  seen  in  others. 

So  great  was  his  simplicity  of  life  that  even  the  per- 
quisites which  other  Cardinals  customarily  possess  and 


which  are  considered  essential  to  the  dignity  of  their 
office  he  discarded  to  the  utmost  extent  possible.  He 
would  not  keep  a  private  livery  in  the  days  of  the  horse 
and  carriage.  Although  extremely  fond  later  of  the  mo- 
tor car,  principally  because  of  his  lifelong  habit  of  being 
in  the  open  air  as  much  as  possible,  he  would  neither 
buy  one  nor  consent  to  accept  one  as  a  present,  although 
almost  innumerable  offers  of  that  kind  were  pressed  upon 
him.  All  his  personal  habits  were  frugal.  The  materials 
of  his  clothing  were  of  the  plainest  sort  and  not  infre- 
quently showed  signs  of  long  wear,  although  he  pos- 
sessed a  considerable  zest  for  neatness  of  appearance  and 
surroundings.  All  that  was  given  to  him  and  all  that 
he  earned  by  his  own  labors  as  an  author  he  bestowed  in 
works  of  benevolence  upon  others. 

He  was  forgiving,  as  few  men  are,  even  to  the  extent 
of  making  enemies,  or  at  least  of  raising  up  critics  by  his 
habitual  attitude  of  forbearance  to  others.  It  seemed 
that  he  was  incapable  of  retaining  uncharitable  thoughts 
or  of  remembering  injury  or  antagonism.  His  clerical 
critics  were  few  but  usually  rather  vigorous  in  their 
expressions.  Some  of  them  were  associated  with  him  in 
his  household  at  various  times,  and  it  was  noticeable  that 
a  considerable  proportion  of  their  complaints  arose  from 
the  fact  that  he  exercised  tolerance  and  charity  which 
went  beyond  what  they  considered  to  be  the  requirements 
of  strict  justice. 

There  were  several  instances  of  priests  in  his  dioceses 
who  erred  through  mere  weaknesses  or  mistakes  of  judg- 
ment which  harmed  only  themselves.  These  men  he 
would  never  punish  severely,  although  he  removed  them 


from  positions  where  their  acts  might  affect  others.  Like 
his  Divine  Master,  he  would  forgive  them  not  only  seven 
times,  but  seventy  times  seven. 

He  could  not  be  moved  to  sustained  anger,  although 
at  times  when  an  attempt  was  made  to  frustrate  some  of 
his  purposes  he  showed  temporary  petulance.  This  soon 
passed  like  a  thunder  shower,  and  he  indicated  no  remem- 
brance of  it  afterward  in  his  conversation  or  dealing  with 
the  individual  who  had  provoked  him. 

He  possessed  a  sense  of  justice  and  fairness  which 
seemed  to  be  sufficient  to  penetrate  the  thickest  clouds. 
Many  a  man,  priest  or  layman,  found  reliance  in  this 
when  others  were  ready  to  condemn. 

He  did  not  care  whether  or  not  his  judgments  were 
approved  by  others  as  individuals  or  in  the  mass.  Once 
he  formed  a  definite  conception  of  the  right,  he  was  as 
immovable  as  a  rock. 

In  fact,  his  steadfastness  was  the  one  overwhelming 
trait  which  enabled  him  to  accomplish  the  labors  to 
which  he  devoted  his  life.  A  man  of  less  persistence  in 
the  face  of  misunderstandings  and  other  obstacles  could 
never  have  succeeded  in  inducing  the  Congregation  of  the 
Holy  Office  to  reverse  its  condemnation  of  the  Knights 
of  Labor,  and  could  never  have  stemmed  the  tide  of 
Cahenslyism,  with  its  threat  of  forcing  upon  the  Catholic 
Church  in  America  assent  to  the  permanency  of  large 
compact  units  of  European  nationalism  transferred  to 
these  shores  by  immigration.  A  man  who  relied  only 
upon  faith  in  his  own  ideas  could  never  have  endured 
with  the  fortitude  which  Gibbons  showed  in  some  of  his 
greater  struggles.     The  one  thing  which  sustained  him 


when  all  others  failed  was  his  simple  and  unshakable 
belief  in  the  direct  guidance  of  the  affairs  of  men  by 
Divine  Providence. 

Of  the  honor  of  the  Church  Gibbons  was  as  jealous  as 
Chevalier  Bayard  was  of  personal  honor.  The  only  two 
occasions  in  his  long  life  when  he  seemed  to  be  dismayed 
were  when  the  Catholic  University  lost  temporarily 
$850,000  of  its  investments  through  the  failure  in  busi- 
ness in  1904  of  Thomas  E.  Waggaman,  its  treasurer,  and 
when  a  priest  in  Baltimore  in  an  ill-considered  effort  to 
raise  money  for  a  new  church  became  overwhelmed  by 
debts  through  speculation.  Neither  of  these  deplorable 
incidents,  of  course,  could  affect  the  Catholic  Church  in 
general  in  any  adverse  way,  as  they  were  merely  isolated 
conditions;  nevertheless  in  his  extreme  solicitude  for  the 
Church,  Gibbons  regarded  them  as  almost  blighting  per- 
sonal misfortunes.  His  self-control  and  optimism  wav- 
ered momentarily;  but  when  the  loss  was  repaired,  chiefly 
through  his  own  efforts,  his  serenity  returned. 

Few  men  were  as  nearly  devoid  of  vanity  as  he.  As  all 
men  could  not  understand  him,  he  appreciated  under- 
standing when  he  found  it,  but  this  feeling  seemed  to  be 
entirely  dissociated  from  vanity.  Even  in  his  youth,  as 
has  been  seen,  he  did  not  try  to  advance  himself  in  the 
Church;  he  even  resisted  advancement  when  it  was 
forced  upon  him  by  others.  Never  was  he  known  to  ex- 
press any  estimate  of  his  own  powers  except  by  way  of 
deprecation.  In  The  Ambassador  of  Christ  he  wrote  this 
remarkable  sentence :  "I  have  never  spent  a  considerable 
time  in  the  company  of  priest  or  layman  without  form- 


ing  comparisons  to  his  advantage  and  to  my  own  dis- 
paragement." ^ 

His  humility  was  not  of  the  kind  which  expresses  itself 
in  a  long  face  and  a  general  aspect  of  gloom.  He  was 
cheerfulness  itself  in  his  habitual  moods  and  seemed  never 
so  happy  as  when  performing  a  simple  service  in  a  hum- 
ble capacity.  He  would  visit  the  sick  or  relieve  an  un- 
fortunate person's  want  with  far  more  alacrity  than  he 
would  show  in  appearing  in  a  role  of  honor  at  the  Vatican 
or  the  White  House. 

Overshadowing  all  his  personal  conduct  was  his  gen- 
tleness. Although  it  was  evident  that  he  radiated  force 
of  character  from  his  person,  it  was  not  a  destructive 
force.  It  was  remarked  of  him  that  in  all  relations  of 
life  he  seemed  the  true  gentleman.  He  spoke  commonly 
in  moderately  low  and  pleasing  tones,  and  his  movements 
were  never  jerky  or  demonstrative. 

In  the  acts  of  piety  which  belong  to  the  priesthood,  the 
celebration  of  Masses,  prayer  and  Scriptural  readings 
and  exercises,  it  is  doubtful  if  any  clergyman  in  America 
showed  more  fervor  or  used  more  of  each  day  in  per- 
sonal devotions  than  Gibbons.  This  was  to  him  the 
foundation  of  everything  that  he  did,  and  he  never  neg- 
lected it  or  even  modified  it  under  the  pressure  of  any 
public  duty,  no  matter  how  exacting. 

If  character  is  the  cornerstone  of  greatness,  accomplish- 
ment is  obviously  one  of  its  main  pillars.  Gibbons'  life 
having  been  devoted  chiefly  to  bringing  about  a  compara- 
tively few  great  and  general  results,  we  may  consider  in 

*  The  Ambassador  of  Christ,  p.  i6o. 


detail  how  far  he  succeeded  in  his  aims  and  the  range  of 
their  usefulness  and  importance  to  humanity.  First  of 
all,  it  may  be  said  that  he  shared  with  Leo  XIII  and 
Manning  the  dominant  leadership  in  thought  and  action 
in  the  Catholic  Church  throughout  the  world  in  one  of 
her  most  fruitful  periods  in  modern  times.  Manning  died 
in  189,2.  For  eleven  years  after  that  Leo  and  Gibbons 
were  the  giants  of  the  Church;  then  in  19.03  Leo  passed, 
and  Gibbons  stood  alone  for  nearly  a  score  of  years,  the 
foremost  personality,  under  the  Popes,  of  her  Hierarchy 
in  the  world. 

Those  three  men,  more  than  all  others,  guided  the 
Church's  external  policies  in  the  direction  of  liberalism 
in  the  last  two  decades  of  the  nineteenth  century,  and  Leo 
and  Gibbons  continued  t'hat  guidance  in  the  opening  of 
the  twentieth.  Gibbons  and  Manning,  being  removed 
from  Rome,  had  no  prestige  as  heads  of  powerful  sub- 
ordinate organizations  in  the  Curia,  but  were  happily 
able  to  exercise  their  influence  in  the  two  countries  which 
were  most  largely  expressive  of  the  development  of  those 
liberal  ideas  that  both  of  them  foresaw  as  impending  for 
the  world  at  large.  Their  unified  thought — for  they 
agreed  as  to  all  the  general  lines  of  the  Church's  opportu- 
nity to  reach  deeper  into  the  hearts  of  men — swayed 
others  by  their  own  force  in  addition  to  the  force  of 
Catholic  authority  exerted  from  Leo  as  the  fountain  head. 
In  the  battle  of  ideas  the  views  of  these  three  prevailed 
and  the  steady,  even  remarkable  advancement  of  the 
Church  in  a  time  of  shifting  conditions  and  general  stress 
was  accomplished  by  following  their  leadership. 

Gibbons  in  the  United  States,  or  Manning  in  England, 


could  have  sought  contentment  in  performing  the  duties 
of  capable  administrators  and  setting  an  example  of  the 
episcopal  virtues  to  their  flocks,  but  there  was  in  them 
something  that  ranged  far  beyond  this.  Their  minds 
reached  out  to  the  largest  opportunities  which  confronted 
the  Church  in  her  worldwide  mission  and,  under  the  mas- 
terly leadership  of  Leo,  they  controlled  her  decisions  upon 
critical  questions  which  involved  the  characteristic 
changes  of  the  world  in  their  time.  Their  appeal  to  peo- 
ples rather  than  governments,  which  was  the  main  foun- 
dation of  all  that  they  did,  was  vindicated  in  its  results 
by  the  rise  of  popular  rule,  the  wreck  of  dynasties  and 
the  advance  of  religion,  shining  with  an  unfading  light 
amid  the  ruins  of  material  systems  around  it. 

In  America  the  accomplishment  of  Gibbons  in  allay- 
ing the  bitter  intolerance  concerning  religion  which  pre- 
vailed in  the  early  days  of  his  priesthood  was  a  giant's 
task.  That  he  was  the  greatest  single  force  in  bringing 
about  this  transformation  can  scarcely  be  doubted.  He 
labored  from  youth  onward  to  attain  it,  laying  the  foun- 
dations in  his  work  in  North  Carolina  and  Virginia,  and 
by  his  book  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers^  whose  wide  char- 
ity of  view  influenced  tens  of  thousands  who  could  be 
swayed  directly  by  the  voice  of  no  priest  or  preacher. 
After  his  elevation  to  the  archiepiscopal  seat  in  Balti- 
more, he  rose  almost  at  a  bound  before  his  fellow  coun- 
trymen as  the  national  pattern  and  exemplar  of  religious 
tolerance,  and  he  strove  for  it  unceasingly  by  word  and 
deed  until  the  end  of  his  labors. 

Indeed,  it  was  far  more  by  example  than  by  precept 
that  he  exhibited  to  his  fellow-countrymen  the  sanity  of 


tolerance.  He  seldom  spoke  directly  of  the  sub- 
ject in  sermons  or  public  addresses,  but  by  illus- 
trating tolerance  in  himself  in  a  unique  way  when  he 
had  attained  a  high  position  and  held  it  for  a  long  term 
of  years,  he  changed  the  channels  in  which  men's 
thoughts  flowed. 

Not  only  did  he  cause  Protestants  to  be  more  tolerant 
of  Catholics,  and  vice  versa,  but  he  actually  made  Prot- 
estant denominations  more  tolerant  of  each  other.  In  a 
multiplicity  of  utterances  he  spoke  no  word  of  reproof 
against  any  Christian  man  or  any  Christian  faith.  How 
was  it  possible  for  malignant  critics  of  the  Church  to 
repeat  their  formulas  with  even  a  semblance  of  belief  in 
them  when  the  foremost  Catholic  prelate  in  America,  a 
man  constantly  before  the  eyes  of  the  people,  was  the 
negation  of  all  that  they  asserted?  If  one  were  moved 
to  declare  that  the  Catholic  Church  aimed  at  the  political 
domination  of  America,  it  was  only  necessary  to  point  to 
Gibbons  in  order  to  confound  that  dictum  utterly.  If 
one  asserted  that  the  Church  sought  to  proscribe  all  other 
forms  of  religion  in  this  country,  it  was  only  necessary  to 
point  to  Gibbons  as  a  consistent  and  powerful  upholder 
of  the  principle  of  equal  rights  guaranteed  fundamen- 
tally in  the  Constitution.  How  could  men  be  persuaded 
that  she  taught  gross  errors  and  superstitious  practises, 
when  the  life  and  personality  of  Gibbons  gave  direct 
evidence  to  the  contrary? 

Gibbons  accomplished  all  this  without  the  least  modi- 
fication in  the  orthodoxy  of  his  belief.  He  merely  proved 
that  being  a  devoted  Catholic  was  entirely  compatible 
with  thorough  Americanism  and  with  the  friendliest  at- 


titude  toward  adherents  of  other  faiths.  For  his  Church 
and  for  himself,  he  claimed  only  such  privileges  as  he 
freely  conceded  to  others  under  the  Constitution  and 
laws.  His  forum  was  public  opinion.  He  entered  it 
boldly  and  pleaded  his  case. 

Now  and  then,  in  the  heat  of  the  "A.  P.  A."  agitation, 
some  one  was  heard  to  say  that  the  Cardinal  declared 
his  admiration  for  his  country  in  order  to  bring  about  a 
false  sense  of  security  and  to  make  the  way  easier  for  a 
contemplated  inroad.  This  reasoning  failed  to  take  into 
account  that  he  reprehended  defects  in  American 
political  and  social  institutions  as  often  as  he  bestowed 
praise.  He  was  like  a  sentinel  on  the  tower,  always  cry- 
ing the  alarm  at  the  approach  of  danger.  Of  all  Ameri- 
cans, he  was  perhaps  the  most  outspoken  in  denouncing 
national  faults,  and  he  was  not  infrequently  the  first  one 
of  prominence  to  expose  them.  Throughout  his  career, 
however,  he  expressed  unfailing  faith  in  the  future  and 
in  the  capacity  of  the  people  to  right  their  own  wrongs 
by  orderly  means.  He  held  up  an  ideal  and  tried  to  guide 
the  footsteps  of  the  people  toward  it. 

Undoubtedly  much  of  his  success  in  routing  religious 
intolerance  in  America  and  thereby  opening  a  way  for  the 
Catholic  Church  which  resulted  in  an  immense  accession 
to  her  numbers  was  due  to  his  settling  in  definite  form,  at 
the  outset  of  his  career  as  Cardinal,  the  question  of  the 
Catholic  stand  in  regard  to  the  separation  of  Church  and 
State  in  the  United  States.  There  had  been  no  real 
cause  for  doubt  as  to  this  stand  before,  but  Gibbons 
understood  thoroughly  that  the  doubt  existed,  baseless 
or  not,  in  America,  and  that  it  was  one  of  his  main  stum- 


bling  blocks  in  the  program  of  Catholic  advance  which 
he  planned. 

The  able  leaders  of  the  Church  in  Rcnne  would  have 
considered  it  madness  to  attempt  an  encroachment  upon 
the  equal  toleration  of  all  sects  and  the  favoritism  of 
none  which  are  engrafted  in  the  Constitution.  There 
was,  of  course,  the  historical  Catholic  background  that  in 
the  days  when  all  Christians  throughout  the  world  ac- 
knowledged but  one  faith  and  one  spiritual  shepherd  on 
earth,  the  relations  between  Church  and  State  bore  a 
character  and  intimacy  which  reflected  those  conditions. 
No  Pope  and  no  Bishop  could  so  far  depart  from  Catholic 
teaching  as  to  assert  that  the  Church  would  not  accom- 
plish a  greater  spiritual  benefit  to  man  if  she  enjoyed  the 
favor  of  the  laws  and  the  protection  of  the  public  author- 
ities. The  assertion  of  this  general  principle,  however, 
had  never  possessed  in  practise  any  direct  bearing  upon 
America,  where  an  overwhelming  majority  of  the  pop- 
ulation has  always  been  Protestant.  John  Carroll,  the 
first  American  Archbishop,  coincided  to  the  fullest  extent 
with  the  American  system  when  it  was  set  up,  and  the 
prelates  who  have  come  after  him  have  never  proposed 
to  change  it.  The  Church  has  repeatedly  declared 
through  the  Popes  that  she  adapts  herself  to  all  forms  of 
civil  government,  and  is  unwilling  to  have  her  mission 
thwarted  by  conflict  with  the  civil  authorities  any- 

How  did  Gibbons  interpret  this  matter  in  his  own 
mind?  His  writings  and  public  speeches  have  left  no 
shadow  of  doubt  on  that  point.  He  believed  that  the 
Catholic  Church  under  the  conditions  that  prevailed  in 


his  time  and  would  probably  continue  to  prevail  would 
thrive  better  if  entirely  divorced  from  civil  institutions, 
but  fully  protected  in  her  spiritual  mission.  He  did  not 
wish  to  force  his  own  views  upon  European  countries, 
regarding  it  as  proper  that  each  nationality  should  settle 
the  question  in  its  own  way,  provided  that  the  solution 
were  not  inconsistent  with  the  full  and  free  advance  of 
the  Catholic  faith.  As  to  America,  he  was  convinced  that 
complete  acquiescence  by  word  and  deed  at  all  times  in 
the  system  which  prevailed  here  was  best  from  every 
point  of  view. 

Confronted  by  this  situation  and  by  the  misunderstand- 
ing of  it  on  the  part  of  great  numbers  of  his  fellow-coun- 
trymen, he  decided  to  deliver  at  a  most  timely  moment, 
his  installation  as  Cardinal  in  his  titular  Church  in  Rome, 
a  declaration  which  would  give  the  incredulous  no  more 
room  for  doubt.  Basing  his  stand  upon  the  encyclical  of 
Leo  XIII,  the  reigning  Pope,  concerning  "The  Constitu- 
tion of  Christian  States,"  he  declared  that  the  Church 
"in  the  genial  atmosphere  of  liberty  blossoms  like  a  rose," 
and  that  in  the  United  States  "the  civil  government  holds 
over  us  the  £egis  of  its  protection  without  interfering  with 
us  in  the  legitimate  exercise  of  our  sublime  mission  as 
ministers  of  the  gospel  of  Christ."  His  speech  was  a 
carefully  planned  exposition  of  the  true  meaning  of  the 
American  system  as  to  the  relations  of  Church  and  State, 
and  no  one  since  that  time  has  been  able  to  obtain  any 
important  degree  of  popular  assent  to  the  view  that  the 
Church  proposes  an  assault  upon  the  institutions  of  the 

When  the  Cardinal  uttered  this  declaration,  the  rela- 


tions  between  Church  and  State  in  not  a  few  countries  in 
Europe  were  far  different  from  what  he  lived  to  see  them 
become.  A  shadow  of  the  old  conditions  still  overhung 
some  of  the  other  Cardinals  in  their  thoughts  upon  the 
subject,  and  they  were  naturally  startled  at  the  boldness 
of  Gibbons.  They  reflected  viewpoints  with  which  they 
had  always  been  associated  in  their  own  countries.  His 
declaration  was  never  questioned  by  Leo  or  any  succeed- 
ing Pope,  or  any  other  authority  in  the  Church.  It  and 
its  results  stand  to  this  day  as  a  complete  refutation  of 
the  most  potent  argument  which  was  used  to  cripple  the 
Catholic  Church  in  the  aggressive  spiritual  mission  to  the 
American  people  which  has  been  her  aim  from  the  be- 
ginnings of  the  country. 

By  his  victory  for  Americanism  in  the  struggle  against 
the  splitting  up  of  the  Church  in  this  country  into  groups 
based  upon  former  European  nationalism,  he  served  both 
Church  and  country  to  a  degree  whose  full  significance 
it  was  only  possible  to  realize  in  the  light  of  the  World 
War.  The  power  and  resourcefulness  which  he  showed 
in  that  struggle  probably  marked  his  maximum. 

Upon  this  question  he  seemed  to  see  into  the  future 
with  singular  clearness.  The  great  onset  of  immigration 
into  the  United  States  from  Europe  in  the  last  two  dec- 
ades of  the  nineteenth  century  had  excited  on  the  part 
of  other  leaders  of  American  thought  occasional  appre- 
hension and  nothing  more.  Now  and  then  some  one  in 
authority  was  heard  to  say  that  the  strain  upon  the  as- 
similative power  of  the  American  people  was  great,  but 
no  one  proposed  an  acceptable  remedy.  There  was  ap- 
parently general  reliance  upon  the  continued  working  of 


that  assimilative  power  to  a  degree  sufficient  to  overcome 
the  threatened  danger. 

Gibbons  was  not  content  to  warn  or  merely  to  trust 
in  the  future  without  taking  action  to  anticipate  it. 
He,  too,  felt  that  American  assimilation  would  do  the 
work,  but  his  conviction  was  equally  firm  that  the  proc- 
ess must  be  assisted  by  those  who  were  able  to  exercise 
influence  in  strengthening  and  sustaining  it. 

The  main  basis  of  Cahenslyism — the  formidable  move- 
ment for  the  appointment  of  Bishops  in  the  Catholic 
Church  in  America  on  the  basis  of  the  numbers  comprising 
foreign  groups  in  the  Church  here — was  merely  the  ex- 
pression of  natural  forces  that  were  set  in  motion  by  the 
unprecedented  tide  of  humanity  that  poured  in  this  direc- 
tion from  Europe.  When  the  immigration  reached  its 
greatest  height,  the  largest  proportion  of  the  newcomers 
were  from  countries  in  which  the  Catholic  faith  predom- 
inated, and  the  Church  was  the  only  agency  with  a  suf- 
ficiently wide  and  powerful  reach  to  exercise  a  definite 
influence  upon  them  in  their  daily  lives. 

Cahenslyism  would  have  preserved,  even  jealously 
guarded,  their  former  nationalities  in  the  new  country  to 
which  they  came.  Its  effect,  had  it  not  been  stifled  before 
it  had  any  important  effect,  would  have  been  to  impair 
and  even  to  destroy  in  some  parts  of  the  country  the 
validity  of  the  bond  of  the  English  language  as  an  over- 
shadowing force  in  American  national  unity.  The  im- 
migrants would  have  been  secluded,  as  it  were,  from  the 
mass  of  the  people  previously  here,  so  that  opportunities 
would  have  been  lacking  for  them  to  understand  the  prin- 
ciples of  the  government  under  which  the)^  had  come  to 


live,  and  a  dense  cloud  of  misunderstanding  between 
them  and  the  remainder  of  the  population  would  have 
become  permanent.  No  one  foresaw  as  fully  as  Gib- 
bons the  possible  consequences  of  this  policy  if  the  United 
States  should  become  engaged  in  war  with  a  nation  from 
which  a  large  proportion  of  these  immigrants  had  sprung. 

Some  speeches,  indeed,  were  made  and  some  admirable 
work  was  attempted  by  a  comparatively  small  number 
of  organizations  of  Americans  to  assist  in  the  assimila- 
tion of  the  foreigners.  The  public  school  authorities  in 
some  of  the  States  attempted  to  aid  in  their  assimilation, 
but  in  other  States  school  boards  preserved  diverse  na- 
tionality by  the  establishment  of  separate  language 
schools.  The  children  of  Catholic  immigrants,  however, 
did  not  for  the  most  part  attend  the  public  schools.  Their 
education  was  received  in  the  parochial  schools,  and  it 
was  there  that  the  influence  of  Gibbons  reached  them. 

Statesman  that  he  was,  he  did  not  wish  to  attempt  to 
sever  them  from  their  former  ties  by  a  violent  wrench. 
He  knew  that  this  would  be  ineffective,  and,  indeed,  that 
it  might  impair  a  just  solution  in  no  small  degree,  but  he 
believed  in  providing  an  orderly  process,  which  would  be 
sufficiently  rapid,  by  which  the  immigrants  and  their 
children  would  be  led  gradually  to  mingle  on  terms  of 
equality  with  the  rest  of  the  people  of  America,  and,  at 
the  earliest  practicable  time,  would  consider  their  new  life 
as  fact  and  their  former  life  as  memory.  From  the  time 
when  he  obtained  the  decision  of  Rome  in  his  favor  on 
this  point  the  Catholic  Church  became,  and  has  since  con- 
tinued to  be,  an  active  agent  for  the  gradual,  orderly  and 
effective  Americanization  of  immigrants  who  arrive  in 


America.  Forces  that  might  have  produced  disunion  in 
the  World  War  were  so  weakened  that  they  did  not  seri- 
ously arrest  the  participation  of  the  country  in  that  con- 
flict according  to  its  own  national  ideals. 

But  this  was  only  a  part  of  the  service  which  Gibbons 
performed.  Had  the  custom  of  electing  nationalist 
Bishops  in  America  been  sanctioned  by  Papal  authority, 
the  unity  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  this  country  would 
have  been  wofully  impaired.  It  would  have  been  com- 
posed then,  as  Gibbons  plainly  foresaw  and  plainly  said, 
of  discordant  groups  striving  from  the  active  force  of 
nationalist  rivalries  and  impairing  what  in  his  sermon  at 
the  conferring  of  the  pallium  upon  Archbishop  Katzer  he 
called  "this  blessed  harmony  that  reigns  among  us." 

Furthermore,  what  would  the  critics  of  the  Catholic 
Church  have  said  when  the  World  War  burst?  With 
what  vehemence  might  they  have  denounced  the  Church 
for  preserving  the  nationality  of  foreigners  after  their 
arrival  and  lending  the  power  of  her  organization  to 
arrest  assimilation"?  The  storm  of  criticism  might  even 
have  broken  before  the  war.  The  enemies  of  the  Church 
were  lying  in  wait  to  find  some  means  of  assailing  her 
as  un-American,  and  in  the  working  out  of  the  system 
proposed  by  the  Cahenslyites,  what  a  leverage  they  might 
have  attained  I  When  the  war  came,  some  irresponsible 
Catholic  belonging  to  one  of  the  foreign  groups  might 
have  made  an  immature  remark  in  which  he  might  have 
claimed  the  protection  of  the  Church  for  an  anti-Ameri- 
can policy,  and  such  a  remark,  if  misconstrued,  might 
have  led  to  the  gravest  consequences. 

Gibbons  wished  to  keep  the  record  clear.    He  felt  that 


the  Catholic  Church  from  the  dawn  of  the  Republic  had 
done  nothing  hostile  to  American  nationality  and  insti- 
tutions, but,  on  the  other  hand,  had  been  a  staunch  and 
consistent  upholder  of  them.  If  she  were  to  mar  this 
record  through  yielding  to  persistent  demands  which  pro- 
ceeded in  great  part  from  Europe,  and  whose  background 
lay,  to  a  certain  degree,  in  mysterious  forces  identified 
with  nationalist  aggression  there,  a  new  wave  of  intol- 
erance, like  that  of  "Know  Nothing"  times,  might  have 
swept  over  the  country. 

The  supposed  danger  which  excited  the  violent  appre- 
hensions of  the  "Know  Nothings"  and  led  to  their  bloody 
and  cruel  proscriptions  was  the  mere  presence  of  the  for- 
eigners ;  if  added  to  their  presence  there  had  been  a  policy 
deliberately  followed  by  the  Catholic  Church  of  keeping 
them  separate  from  the  main  body  of  citizens,  and  pre- 
venting their  absorption  by  natural  means,  the  storm  of 
intolerance  might  have  been  angrier  than  it  had  ever 

Gibbons  was  not  satisfied  to  know  that  the  Church  was 
doing  nothing  whatever  that  might  be  properly  consid- 
ered to  stamp  her  as  a  foreign  influence.  He  wished  all 
his  fellow-citizens  to  know  this  also,  and  he  could  not  be 
content  if  there  was  any  misunderstanding  on  their  part, 
no  matter  what  the  cause.  His  stand  against  Cahensly- 
ism  not  only  made  American  unity  possible  in  the  World 
War,  but  probably  warded  off  another  period  of  bitter 
feeling  against  the  Church  which  would  have  stayed  her 
progress  when  she  was  growing  faster  than  she  had  ever 

Light  upon  Gibbons'  character  is  thrown  by  the  fact 


that  in  this  struggle,  as  in  others  in  which  he  engaged, 
he  possessed  the  singular  faculty  of  retaining  the  esteem 
of  those  against  whom  he  contended.  Not  once  in  the 
long  process  of  strife  did  he  utter  a  word  of  reproach 
against  any  particular  foreign  nationality  or  the  mass  of 
its  people  in  this  country,  or  any  of  its  spokesmen  in  the 
Church  in  America,  Archbishop  Ireland,  who  ably  as- 
sisted him  throughout  the  conflict,  pursued  methods 
which  drew  the  intense  fire  of  the  opposition,  little  as 
he  heeded  it;  but  during  the  period  while  it  lasted  the 
Cahenslyites  never  spoke  of  Gibbons  with  disrespect, 
although  they  strove  to  the  utmost  limit  of  their  power 
to  circumvent  his  purposes. 

Years  after  the  fight  was  over  and  the  victory  won, 
Cahensly,  whose  name  the  movement  had  retained  when 
it  had  swept  far  beyond  its  original  proportions,  visited 
the  Cardinal  at  the  archiepiscopal  residence  in  Baltimore 
in  the  course  of  a  trip  to  America,  and  rendered  personal 
homage  to  the  man  who  had  done  so  much  to  overthrow 
the  cause  for  which  he  had  stood.  Gibbons,  always 
free  from  bitterness,  received  him  with  kindness  and 
spoke  afterward  of  the  "pleasant"  conversation  which 
they  had  had;  but  as  long  as  life  remained  in  him  he 
did  not  cease  to  be  glad  that  he  had  met  with  firmness 
the  danger  of  foreign  nationalism  in  America  when  it 
had  presented  itself  in  its  most  threatening  aspect. 

Another  accomplishment  of  Gibbons  which  stamped 
him  as  a  leader  of  men  was  the  marked  influence  which 
he  exerted  in  causing  America  to  be  better  understood 
abroad.  He  was  the  first  of  his  fellow-countrymen  to 
make  an  important  inroad  upon  the  misconception  of 


the  United  States,  its  institutions  and  its  people  which 
prevailed  for  so  long  and  to  such  a  great  extent  among 
the  principal  nations  of  Europe.  There  had  been  a  belief 
that  America  was  an  experiment,  poorly  conceived,  a 
temporary  factor  in  the  world  which  contained  within 
itself  elements  of  dissolution.  There  were  exaggerated 
views  of  its  people  and  its  public  men.  While  all  Euro- 
peans did  not  share  in  this  misunderstanding,  it  prevailed 
among  many  millions  and  was  an  obstacle  to  solidly  based 
international  accord. 

European  churchmen,  both  Catholics  and  Protestants 
— not  because  they  were  churchmen,  but  because  they 
were  Europeans — had  once  regarded  as  radical  and  even 
revolutionary  the  separation  of  Church  and  State  as  es- 
tablished by  the  Constitution  of  1787.  In  their  eyes  it 
seemed  to  divorce  religion  from  the  body  politic  and 
therefore  to  impair  the  State  as  an  uplifting  force  among 
the  people.  In  countries  where  various  Protestant 
churches  were  established  and  supported  in  part  by  the 
State  the  same  feeling  prevailed  as  in  Catholic  countries. 
The  main  thought  was  that  the  American  system  meant 
irreligion,  while  the  European  system  meant  the  foster- 
ing of  religious  influence  by  the  State  in  behalf  of  the 

By  his  speech  in  Rome  in  1887,  just  a  century  after 
the  framing  of  the  Constitution,  on  the  relations  of 
Church  and  State  in  America,  and  by  numerous  subse- 
quent declarations  and  acts  abroad.  Gibbons  brought 
home  to  the  thinking  portion  of  the  European  peoples  a 
comprehension  of  the  working  in  practise  of  the  Ameri- 

*Bryce,  The  American  Commonivealth,  Vol.  II,  p.  767. 


can  system,  as  distinguished  from  the  working  in  prac- 
tise of  the  European  system,  and  as  separated  from  the 
theoretical  aspects  of  either.  He  showed  that  in  America 
the  Church  was  perhaps  more  secure  in  her  rights  than 
anywhere  else  in  the  world,  and  that  the  protection  which 
had  been  given  to  her  in  her  spiritual  mission  had  resulted 
in  accessions  such  as  she  had  gained  in  no  European  coun- 
try. He  showed  that  the  leaders  of  America,  from  Wash- 
ington down,  had  been  for  the  most  part  men  of  deep 
religious  feeling,  and  that  this  influence  had  been  woven 
in  the  thread  of  the  nation's  life. 

He  also  brought  home  to  Europe  a  comprehension  that 
America  had  not  only  a  free  but  a  strong  government, 
long  before  that  lesson  was  learned  from  example  in  the 
World  War.  The  institutions  of  the  United  States,  he 
pointed  out,  while  having  an  appearance  of  laxity,  really 
contained  within  themselves  stronger  elements  of  perma- 
nency than  were  to  be  found  in  the  institutions  of  some 
of  the  other  great  powers,  because  they  possessed  by  vir- 
tue of  their  elasticity  the  capacity  to  withstand  a  sudden 
shock.  Leaders  of  European  thought  first  learned  from 
Gibbons  to  believe  that  America  was  a  fixed  and  per- 
manent factor  as  a  power  of  the  first  rank  and  that  its 
institutions,  so  far  from  being  unworthy  to  be  compared 
with  those  of  Europe,  were  worthy  of  imitation 
throughout  the  world  in  some  respects.  He  lived  to  see 
a  tremendous  strengthening  of  the  democratic  ideal 
abroad,  in  conformity  with  what  he  had  so  long  pre- 
dicted to  incredulous  observers  on  the  other  side  of  the 

In  this  connection  it  is  well  to  consider  that  his  influ- 


ence,  far  more  than  that  of  any  other  churchman  whom 
America  has  produced,  extended  outside  his  own  country. 
His  victory  in  the  struggle  for  the  right  of  labor  to  or- 
ganize affected  more  Europeans  in  the  aggregate  than 
Americans,  for,  as  the  principle  was  soon  sanctioned  by 
Leo  and  proclaimed  in  one  of  that  Pope's  encyclicals,  it 
was  a  charter  for  Catholic  workmen  throughout  the 
world.  European  labor  leaders  were  not  slow  to  ac- 
knowledge that  it  was  Gibbons  to  whom  they  owed  this 
powerful  influence  exerted  in  their  behalf. 

The  battle  against  Cahenslyism  was  distinctly  a  battle 
against  encroachment  by  European  nationalist  groups, 
and  it  was  discussed  abroad  with  fully  as  much  heat  and 
persistence  as  in  the  United  States.  There  was  no  lack 
of  comprehension  of  the  fact  that  upon  the  decision  con- 
cerning it  depended  the  question  as  to  whether  European 
groups  as  such  were  to  obtain  a  permanent  foothold  in 
America;  and  when  they  found  Gibbons  the  outstanding 
figure  who  prevented  the  threatened  incursion,  they  could 
not  fail  to  realize  his  own  power  and  the  strength  of  the 
country  for  which  he  stood. 

In  parts  of  the  world  where  little  was  known  of  Amer- 
ica, and  less  of  its  public  men,  the  fame  of  Gibbons  pene- 
trated. A  story  was  told — whether  true  or  not,  it  illus- 
trated a  condition — of  an  eastern  Prince  to  whom  the 
United  States  meant  three  things  and  three  only.  The 
first  was  George  Washington,  the  second  was  the  Rocky 
Mountains,  and  the  third  was  Cardinal  Gibbons. 

His  sweeping  success  in  his  defense  of  the  rights  of 
organized  labor  and  his  great  influence  in  stifling  Social- 
ism in  the  United  States  clearly  marked  the  channel  of 


his  thoughts  on  the  subject  of  industrialism,  that  preg- 
nant theme  which  absorbed  the  attention  of  men  to  such  a 
great  extent  during  the  most  fruitful  period  of  his  life. 
He  wished  to  lift  the  workingman  and  at  the  same  time 
to  save  him  from  extremes.  On  the  question  of  labor,  as 
on  other  questions  which  he  considered  to  be  fundamen- 
tal to  the  progress  of  his  fellowmen,  Gibbons  was  not  con- 
tent to  preach  or  advise.  He  stood  for  action.  While 
the  debt  of  labor  to  him  for  his  determined  champion- 
ship is  a  general  one  throughout  the  civilized  world,  the 
debt  for  the  checking  of  the  progress  of  Socialism  in  the 
United  States  was  especially  one  on  the  part  of  his  fel- 
low-countrymen who  see  in  American  conservatism  and 
moderation  the  only  safety  of  their  national  institutions. 

The  verdict  in  favor  of  the  Knights  which  he  obtained 
in  Rome  was,  as  he  knew  it  would  be,  a  verdict  in  favor 
of  all  other  labor  organizations.  It  was  not  a  victory  so 
limited  as  to  impair  substantial  realization  of  its  fruits 
in  any  way.  He  obtained  full  assent  to  the  general  right 
of  labor  to  organize  as  a  principle  of  industrialism  which 
amounted  to  its  protection  by  the  Church.  In  the  exer- 
cise of  that  right,  the  method  of  organization,  the  pol- 
icies and  plans  to  be  followed  in  carrying  out  the  pur- 
pose, were  not  abridged.  It  was  a  broad  charter  for  men 
everywhere,  regardless  of  creed  or  race. 

Had  it  not  been  for  the  influence  of  Gibbons  thus  ex- 
erted the  progress  of  the  labor  movement  would  have 
been  seriously  impeded  for  an  indefinite  time  in  all  coun- 
tries where  the  Church  was  strong.  Perhaps  to  no  other 
churchman  than  himself  would  the  project  of  inducing 
the  Congregation  of  the  Holy  Office  to  reverse   itself 


have  appeared  to  be  practical.  Some,  indeed,  would  have 
considered  the  attempt  to  be  little  short  of  madness.  A 
measure  of  Gibbons'  boldness  may  be  conceived  from  the 
utter  fearlessness  with  which  he  began  and  waged  the 
battle  to  victory  in  the  face  of  that  obstacle. 

Another  public  service  of  Gibbons — like  his  rout  of 
Cahenslyism,  a  service  both  for  Church  and  country — was 
that  which  he  rendered  in  facilitating  the  transfer 
of  the  status  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  the  islands  ac- 
quired from  Spain  by  the  United  States  to  the  status 
which  prevails  in  this  country.  Statesmen  at  Washing- 
ton learned  the  difficulties  of  this  transfer  as  soon  as  the 
islands  passed  into  American  possession.  The  Church  had 
extensive  property  rights  in  all  of  them,  fortified  by  the 
civil  laws  of  centuries  and  by  the  custom  and  thought 
of  the  people,  among  whom  the  system  was  not  different 
from  that  which  prevailed  in  Spain.  The  problem  of 
the  Friar  lands  in  the  Philippines  was  an  especial  com- 
plication which,  as  we  have  seen,  threatened  to  prolong 
a  state  of  armed  resistance  to  American  authority. 

Gibbons  early  perceived  the  need  of  effective  inter- 
position to  assist  both  Church  and  State  in  the  readjust- 
ment of  relations  in  the  islands,  so  that  complete  con- 
formity with  the  American  system  might  be  obtained 
with  the  least  possible  jarring  of  the  sensibilities  of  the 
people  affected.  Obstacles  were  many  and  intricate  and 
he  intervened  only  where  the  regular  processes  of  nego- 
tiation and  transfer  seemed  to  be  inadequate.  Mainly 
through  his  influence,  especially  as  wielded  in  the  course 
of  his  trip  to  Rome  soon  after  the  Spanish  War,  every 


difficulty  was  removed  and  he  lived  to  see  the  solution 
accepted  by  all  as  just  and  necessary. 

No  resume  of  the  things  accomplished  by  him  would 
be  complete  without  reference  to  his  services  as  a  re- 
former in  American  public  life.  For  years  he  was  an 
active,  conspicuous  and  continuous  reform  influence.  He 
helped  in  a  signal  manner  to  marshal  public  opinion 
against  the  ballot  frauds  which  once  prevailed  and  were 
finally  checked,  against  laxity  and  corruption  in  public 
administration,  against  the  delays  of  the  courts,  against 
lynch  law,  and  in  fact,  against  virtually  all  of  the  pub- 
lic evils  which  developed  to  considerable  proportions  in 
his  time. 

His  war  upon  civic  abuses  was  not  an  indiscriminate 
one,  and  he  wasted  no  time  in  the  expression  of  platitudes 
about  general  conditions  which  could  not  be  applied  di- 
rectly to  relief.  Every  time  he  assailed  an  evil  he  pro- 
posed a  remedy,  and  he  drove  home  his  points  with  per- 
sistence when  he  was  once  aroused  to  take  a  definite  stand. 
He  was  not  a  reformer  in  the  sense  of  being  a  scoffer  at 
the  institutions  of  whose  abuses  he  complained;  but  he 
held  that  militant  watchfulness  was  essential  in  order 
that  the  political  life  of  the  Republic  should  be  prevented 
from  degenerating  into  abuses  and  scandals.  So  far  as 
it  was  in  him,  he  gave  his  thought,  time  and  effort  to 
keep  clean  the  civic  temple;  and  no  small  share  of  the 
great  regard  in  which  he  was  held  by  his  fellow-country- 
men was  due  to  the  consistency  of  his  labors  in  that  re- 


We  come  now  to  a  point  in  the  consideration  of  the 
elements  of  greatness  that  Gibbons  possessed  to  which 
no  obscurity  is  attached — his  brilliancy  as  a  churchman. 
In  any  appraisement  of  the  gifts  and  acts  which  con- 
tributed to  his  undoubted  preeminence  in  this  respect  it 
is  well  to  bear  in  mind  that  his  purely  ecclesiastical  record 
was  obscured  to  some  extent  in  the  public  mind  by  the 
remarkable  range  and  force  of  his  activities  outside  the 
Church,  which  lent  themselves  more  readily  to  general 
comprehension.  Much  of  what  he  fought  for  and  accom- 
plished within  the  Church  was  little  known  at  the  time, 
because  so  much  of  it  was  done  in  higher  councils  whose 
proceedings  were  not  open  to  public  scrutiny.  He  had 
reached  the  most  intense  period  of  his  struggle  in  behalf 
of  the  right  of  labor  to  organize  before  a  word  of  what 
he  was  doing  leaked  out,  and  the  surprise  of  the  world 
was  great  when  a  copy  of  his  burning  appeal  in  behalf 
of  the  object  upon  which  he  had  set  his  heart  was  obtained 
surreptitiously  and  printed.  In  the  ordinary  process  of 
ecclesiastical  propriety  he  would  have  waited  until  the 
decision  had  been  given  before  making  any  public  utter- 
ance on  the  subject  and  even  then  he  might  have  con- 
tinued to  preserve  silence  in  order  to  avoid  linking  his 

own  efforts  or  personality  with  the  result. 



The  full  measure  of  what  he  did  in  the  long  grapple 
with  Cahenslyism  was  not  comprehended  at  the  time  by 
more  than  a  small,  well-informed  inner  circle  of  ecclesi- 
astical and  political  life  in  the  United  States  and  Euro- 
pean countries.  It  was  widely  understood,  of  course,  in 
a  general  way  that  Gibbons  Was  the  leader  of  the  su- 
preme struggle  of  those  who  stood  for  Americanism  in 
that  case.  But  the  details  of  his  systematic  and  pro- 
tracted efforts  to  still  the  strident  voice  of  foreign  na- 
tionalism in  America  were  involved  in  much  obscurity. 
He  was  not  of  the  type  of  man  to  claim  any  credit  for 
himself  in  such  affairs,  and  besides  he  had  learned  early 
in  life,  like  other  Catholic  ecclesiastics,  to  preserve  per- 
sonal confidence  inviolate. 

His  work  in  organizing  and  presiding  over  the  Third 
Plenary  Council  of  Baltimore,  bearing  fruit  as  it  did  in 
the  production  of  a  monumental  system  of  Catholic  leg- 
islation which  was  subsequently  used  as  a  model  for 
similar  councils  in  other  countries,  was  strictly  church- 
manship.  This  was  one  of  the  feats  of  his  life,  an  out- 
standing ecclesiastical  achievement  of  the  nineteenth 
century.  It  stamped  him  as  the  Moses  of  the  Catholic 
Church  in  America  in  the  sense  of  being  its  lawgiver. 
Leo  XIII  was  one  of  those  who  bestowed  upon  him  the 
highest  praise  for  this  and  went  so  far  as  to  commend 
it  especially  in  an  encyclical. 

No  churchman  can  be  put  to  the  test  more  exactingly 
than  by  being  charged  under  the  Pope  with  the  responsi- 
bility as  Apostolic  Delegate  for  a  Plenary  Council.  The 
task  requires  a  complete  and  analytical  knowledge  of  the 
doctrines  and  discipline  of  the  Church,  and  a  thorough 


grasp  upon  its  immense  range  of  scholarship.  No  ecclesi- 
astic other  than  one  deeply  learned  and  possessing  rare 
executive  traits  could  hope  to  accomplish  it  in  such  a 
manner  as  Gibbons  did.  Each  Plenary  Council  frames 
a  complete  constitution  for  the  discipline  of  the  Church 
in  its  jurisdiction,  being  a  national  synod.  The  broad 
field  covered,  as  indicated  by  the  titles  of  the  Third  Plen- 
ary Council's  decrees,  runs:  The  Catholic  faith,  ecclesi- 
astical persons.  Divine  worship,  the  sacraments,  the  edu- 
cation of  clerics,  the  education  of  Catholic  youth.  Chris- 
tian doctrine,  zeal  for  souls,  Church  property,  ecclesiasti- 
cal trials  and  ecclesiastical  sepulture. 

The  foundation  laid  in  the  Council  was  not  only  com- 
prehensive, but  enduring.  No  churchman  since  that  time 
who  is  informed  upon  the  subject  has  doubted  that  it  was 
a  master  hand  that  framed  the  chart  by  which  the  Catho- 
lic bark  has  been  steered  in  the  United  States  ever 

In  the  Council,  and  on  many  subsequent  occasions.  Gib- 
bons showed  his  unsurpassed  skill  as  a  presiding  officer. 
His  ability  as  an  executive  must  be  taken  into  account 
in  an  important  sense  in  any  estimate  of  his  powers. 
While  the  Archbishop  of  Baltimore  has  the  place 
of  honor  among  American  Archbishops,  he  possesses  no 
general  or  patriarchal  jurisdiction,  and  a  Cardinal  has  no 
jurisdiction  whatever  in  virtue  of  being  a  member  of  the 
Sacred  College  except  in  the  interregnum  following  the 
death  of  a  Pope.  Leo  XIII,  however,  bestowed  upon 
Gibbons  by  successive  acts  a  status  which  no  other  Car- 
dinal outside  of  Rome  possessed.  To  the  Archbishop  of 
Baltimore  were  entrusted  so  many  general  commissions 


of  Church  government  and  authority  beyond  his  immedi- 
ate jurisdiction  that  he  became  the  real  ecclesiastical 
leader  in  America,  and  the  force  of  his  personality  made 
this  all  the  stronger.  Other  prelates,  swayed  by  devotion 
to  him  and  the  things  for  which  he  stood,  were  eager  to 
follow  him  in  thought  and  action,  and  thus  his  aims, 
policies  and  methods  became  those  of  the  Church 
throughout  the  country.  He  was  the  presiding  officer  at 
the  meetings  of  the  American  Archbishops  at  which, 
under  ecclesiastical  law,  important  decisions  were  taken 
and  these  decisions  came  to  reflect  his  views  virtually 
without  variation. 

His  overshadowing  object,  in  which  all  others  were 
blended,  was  that  the  Church  should  spread  religion  to 
the  widest  bounds.  This  was  to  be  accomplished  by  the 
fostering  of  the  missionary  spirit  through  the  appoint- 
ment of  the  ablest  leaders  as  Bishops  and  the  best  man  as 
priests  and  by  removing  friction  within  the  Church  and 
between  the  Church  and  people  of  other  creeds.  When  he 
became  Archbishop  the  number  of  Catholics  in  the  United 
States  was,  in  round  numbers,  6,000,000;  he  lived  to  see 
that  number  tripled.  No  organization,  ecclesiastical, 
political  or  industrial,  had  a  more  successful  leader  in  his 
time.  He  was  the  generalissimo  par  excellence  in  scope 
and  boldness  of  conception,  skill  in  method  and  almost 
incredible  efficiency  as  judged  by  the  accomplishment  of 

Gibbons'  rank  as  a  churchman  was  emphasized  by  his 
authorship  of  the  most  successful  popular  treatise  upon 
Catholic  doctrines  produced  in  modern  times.  The  re- 
sults that  have  proceeded  from  the  immense  circulation 


of  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers  were  of  the  kind  that  he  pre- 
ferred always  to  seek — the  harvest  of  souls. 

Men  in  the  front  ranks  of  public  life  testified  abun- 
dantly to  his  possession  of  extraordinary  qualities  of 
statesmanship.  He  was  compared  to  Cardinal  Richelieu 
in  his  gifts  in  that  field,  and  again  it  was  said  of  him 
that  had  he  entered  politics  he  would  have  become  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States.  Undoubtedly  he  possessed  all 
the  traits  that  would  contribute  to  make  any  man  Presi- 
dent. He  had  such  a  strong  aptitude  for  public  affairs 
that  it  was  an  almost  irresistible  impulse  for  him  to  en- 
gage in  them  in  some  way;  yet  withal  his  sense  of  fitness 
in  such  things  was  so  keen  that  he  never  violated  deli- 
cate proprieties  in  doing  so. 

First  among  his  gifts  of  statesmanship  was  an  all- 
comprehensive  grasp  of  government  in  the  abstract,  com- 
bined with  one  of  the  most  practical  of  judgments  in  the 
application  of  its  principles  by  methods  based  upon  ac- 
curate understanding  of  human  nature.  He  did  not  wan- 
der astray  after  barren  aims,  but  never  once  lowered  his 
standard  of  principles.  His  mind  reached  out  even  to  the 
minor  details  of  the  processes  of  politics  and  government, 
and  he  was  as  much  at  ease  when  talking  to  a  President 
upon  these  subjects,  as  when  talking  to  a  Pope  upon 
ecclesiastical  affairs.  He  seemed  to  know  how  every- 
thing in  public  life  ought  to  be  done,  often  better  than 
the  statesmen  knew;  and  some  of  the  most  eminent  of 
them  were  glad  to  learn  from  him.  His  natural  qual- 
ities of  leadership  fitted  him  to  command  the  great  no 
less  than  the  small.  He  could  persuade  men  against 
their  wills  and  they  would  thank  him  for  doing  so. 


Most  of  his  battles  for  causes  within  the  Church  were 
won  by  the  exercise  of  what  amounted  to  consummate 
skill  in  statesmanship.  Had  a  force  so  compelling  in  the 
affairs  of  men  existed  without  the  softening  influences  of 
religion,  one  might  shudder  to  think  of  the  lengths  to 
which  it  could  have  gone.  Permeated  throughout  with 
humility  and  guided  by  the  code  of  a  devoted  priest,  it 
was  a  monumental  blessing. 

In  rating  Gibbons  as  a  statesman  it  is  necessary  to 
consider  the  limitations  under  which  he  labored.  He 
could  hold  no  public  office  and  never  once  did  he  endorse 
a  political  party  or  a  partizan  candidate.  No  other 
American  outside  the  ranks  of  officialdom  had  even  ap- 
proximately filled  his  role  as  a  citizen.  As  the  American 
people  learned  to  know  him,  they  listened  to  his  voice 
almost  as  that  of  a  prophet.  In  times  of  stress,  they 
sought  his  calm,  patriotic  counsel  and  received  it  with 
gratitude  and  full  confidence,  such  as  they  gave  to  the 
counsel  of  no  other  man.  Ready — perhaps  too  ready — 
to  doubt  their  chosen  leaders  in  public  office,  they  came 
to  discard  all  doubt  as  to  the  wisdom  and  sincerity  of 
the  advice  of  Gibbons.  When  he  spoke  to  them  his 
words  were  of  the  common  concerns  of  all  his  fellow- 
countrymen,  asking  no  favors  for  himself  or  for  his 

As  an  author.  Gibbons  may  be  rated  much  the  same  as 
he  was  rated  as  a  preacher.  His  books  were  the  most  pop- 
ular and  most  widely  circulated  of  their  kind  in  America 
and,  in  the  case  of  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers,  in  the 
world;  but  as  he  deliberately  avoided  profundity  in  ex- 
pression so  that  his  message  might  not  go  over  the  heads 


of  the  millions  whom  he  sought  to  reach,  his  rank  in  a  lit- 
erary sense  falls  short  in  this  respect.  One  may  form 
some  conception  of  the  heights  which  it  would  have  been 
possible  for  him  to  attain  as  an  author  from  the  first  edi- 
tion of  The  Faith  of  Our  Fathers,  now  no  longer  circu- 
lated. That  gem  of  limpid  and  finished  simplicity  in 
English  style  was  his  own  individual  product,  but  the 
later  and  expanded  form  of  the  same  book,  embodying  a 
multitude  of  suggestions  made  to  him  by  others,  is  to 
some  extent  the  expression  of  diverse  personalities. 

Our  Christian  Heritage  is  distinctly  strong  as  a  piece 
of  reasoning,  and  it  is  doubtful  if  any  other  popular 
treatise  ever  set  forth  so  effectively  for  the  multitudes 
to  read  the  defense  of  the  underlying  principles  of  the 
Christian  faith.  Even  the  logic  of  the  book  is  simplified 
to  a  point  where  any  one  can  comprehend  it,  as  Gibbons 
wished  it  to  be,  and  therefore,  considered  as  an  intellec- 
tual product  alone,  it  is  of  a  different  type  from  the  elab- 
orate reasoning  of  the  great  doctors  of  the  Church. 

Again,  in  the  case  of  his  volume  of  sermons  there  is  the 
same  apparent  desire  to  write  down  to  the  level  of  the 
average  man,  for  he  considered  his  mission  at  all  times 
to  be  for  humanity  in  the  mass  where  the  largest  harvest 
was  possible.  The  Ambassador  of  Christ,  written  as  a 
guide  for  priests,  bears  the  characteristics  of  a  text-book, 
rather  than  of  a  general  work  of  literature,  though  the 
limpid  style  in  which  he  wrote  almost  everything  per- 
vades it,  and  gives  it  an  artistic  finish.  The  Retrospect 
of  Fifty  Years  is,  for  the  most  part,  a  group  of  his  previ- 
ous public  papers  and  utterances. 

In  all  his  books  there  is  an  utter  lack  of  any  sign  of 


the  vanity  of  authorship.  Gibbons  obviously  wished  them 
to  do  good  to  others,  rather  than  to  enhance  his  own  repu- 
tation. No  matter  what  his  unrevealed  gifts  as  an  author 
may  have  been,  he  deliberately  moulded  them  to  the 
practical  in  the  pursuit  of  his  mission  as  he  saw  it. 

Any  measure  of  greatness  that  may  be  attributed  to 
him  must  embrace,  of  course,  an  estimate  of  his  general 
powers  of  intellect,  and  we  may  profitably  attempt  a 
close  view  of  them.  First,  it  may  be  said  that  his  intel- 
lectual superiority  impressed  all  who  came  in  contact 
with  him,  despite  apparent  attempts  on  his  part  to  make 
no  display  of  it.  Among  his  mental  gifts  one  of  the  most 
singular  and  noticeable  was  largeness  of  vision.  He 
judged  important  matters  by  a  standard  which  included 
a  long  range  of  years  and  varying  expressions  of  human 
development.  His  decisions  did  not  seem  to  be  based 
usually  upon  immediate  and  plainly  evident  conditions. 
He  saw  blessing  in  the  future  where  other  men  sometimes 
predicted  disaster;  and  he  perceived  ominous  danger  in 
things  which  other  men  contemplated  with  a  sense  of 

The  general  processes  of  his  intellectual  decisions  were 
so  wide  that  few  men  could  comprehend  them  without 
long  and  serious  thought.  In  time,  most  of  those  who 
were  associated  with  him,  or  who  were  among  his  advisers 
or  were  charged  with  the  responsibility  of  carrying  out 
his  decisions,  came  to  accept  his  views  as  scarcely  short 
of  inspired,  considering  this  condition  as  a  phenomenon 
for  which  they  could  not  account,  but  the  existence  of 
which  they  formed  the  habit  of  acknowledging. 

His  range  of  accurate  knowledge  was  one  of  the  most 


extraordinary  of  his  time,  and  he  seemed  to  be  almost 
equally  at  home  on  any  subject  which  was  placed  before 
his  mind.  To  cite  an  instance,  he  could  sit  among  a 
group  of  United  States  senators  and  members  of  the 
lower  house  of  Congress  and  discuss  the  question  of 
Philippine  independence,  showing  the  possession  of  an 
immense  mass  of  detailed  information  in  regard  to  every 
aspect  which  it  was  worth  while  to  consider.  Again,  at  a 
meeting  of  Archbishops  no  one  present  knew  the  history 
of  the  inner  processes  of  the  Church  in  America  as  he 
did,  or  possessed  a  deeper  comprehension  of  all  methods 
that  must  be  employed  according  to  ecclesiastical  pro- 
cedure in  the  settlement  of  questions,  whether  or  not  it 
was  necessary  to  refer  them  to  Rome.  He  would  attend 
a  meeting  of  the  trustees  of  the  Catholic  University  or 
one  of  the  numerous  institutions  of  benevolence  main- 
tained in  the  diocese  of  Baltimore  and  show  a  greater 
familiarity  with  details  in  regard  to  the  particular  sub- 
ject of  discussion  than  any  one  else  present. 

Perhaps  the  most  amazing  mental  trait  which  he  cus- 
tomarily exhibited  was  perception.  His  mind  appeared 
to  take  in  not  only  the  spoken  word  but  even  the  un- 
spoken thought.  A  visitor — perhaps  a  personal  friend — 
would  see  him  with  the  intention  of  presenting  a  long 
statement  and  seeking  his  judgment,  which  practically 
all  who  knew  him  valued  more  highly  than  that  of  any 
other  man.  The  Cardinal  was  willing  to  listen,  but  after 
a  comparatively  few  words  had  been  spoken  it  was  ap- 
parent to  the  visitor  that  Gibbons  comprehended  every- 
thing which  was  in  his  mind.     Evidence  of  this  was  so 


plain  that  the  long  explanation  was  often  reduced  to  a 
short  and  simple  one. 

This  might  be  attributed  by  some  to  one  of  those  men- 
tal processes  akin  to  the  psychic,  which  it  would  be  out 
of  place  to  discuss  here.  If  one  sought  to  explain  it  by 
reliance  upon  evident  things,  he  would  perhaps  turn  for 
a  reason  to  the  truly  immense  knowledge  which  Gibbons 
possessed  on  a  great  variety  of  subjects,  including  the 
characters  and  personal  relations  of  those  with  whom  he 
came  in  contact,  and  which  enabled  him  to  anticipate 
their  thoughts  by  processes  of  quick  deduction. 

All  the  movements  of  his  mind  were  extraordinarily 
rapid,  and  many  of  them  were  apparently  instantaneous. 
He  pondered  little  over  any  decision,  sometimes  appar- 
ently not  at  all.  Occasionally  some  one  who  consulted 
him  would  assume  from  this  that  he  spoke  hastily  and 
that  there  was  not  sufficient  reflection  behind  his  deliver- 
ance. If  Gibbons  were  questioned  further  in  such  a  case, 
he  would  put  in  words  a  long  chain  of  thought  which 
would  show  that  his  decision  was  far  from  being  the 
result  of  what  is  called  "jumping  at  conclusions." 

The  elasticity  of  his  mind  was  as  noticeable  as  its 
quickness.  It  never  seemed  to  tire  even  though  his  body 
might  be  almost  in  a  state  of  collapse.  Every  subject 
seemed  to  be  interesting  to  him.  He  could  turn  from 
one  to  another  with  complete  ease,  and  the  last  person 
to  whom  he  spoke  might  form  the  conclusion  that  the 
matter  taken  up  had  been  the  only  one  upon  his  mind 
at  the  time,  although  far  greater  affairs  might  have  been 
pressing  him  a  moment  before,  or  might  be  still  pressing 


him.  No  one  ever  detected  any  limit  to  his  intellectual 
capacity,  no  matter  what  the  strain  that  was  put  upon 
it,  and  no  matter  what  the  cause  of  that  strain. 

Naturally  akin  to  quickness  of  mind,  he  possessed  an 
almost  incredibly  retentive  memory.  It  was  a  memory 
that  lasted  over  such  a  long  chain  of  years  that  it  mys- 
tified those  who  had  a  chance  to  observe  its  range.  Not 
only  did  it  apply  to  the  important  affairs  with  which 
it  was  abundantly  stored  from  the  circumstances  of  his 
career;  it  absorbed  and  retained  knowledge  of  intimate 
personal  details  relating  to  hundreds  of  individuals. 
Never  in  such  cases  did  he  appear  to  make  a  mistake. 

As  of  facts,  his  memory  of  faces  was  remarkable,  and 
it  was  said  of  him  that  he  never  seemed  to  forget  a  face. 
He  readily  recognized  persons  whom  he  had  not  seen 
for  a  score  of  years  and  talked  with  them  on  terms  of 
familiarity,  as  if  their  parting  had  been  but  of  yesterday. 

One  of  the  characteristics  of  his  memory  was  that  it 
was  as  retentive  of  words  as  of  facts.  He  could  not  only 
remember  the  substance  of  statements  which  it  was  neces- 
sary to  cite,  but  could  recall  the  exact  language  in  which 
they  were  framed,  and  this,  not  infrequently,  after  much 
time  had  elapsed.  Even  beyond  the  age  of  eighty  years, 
he  could  memorize  a  sermon  which  he  had  written  by 
merely  reading  it  over  twice. 

A  great  proportion  of  the  Bible  was  imprinted  upon  his 
mind  literally.  It  was  his  habit  to  clothe  many  of  his 
thoughts  in  scriptural  language,  that  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment as  well  as  the  New;  and  churchmen  were  often 
amazed  to  find  long  discourses  from  the  Bible  rolling 
from  the  end  of  his  tongue,  as  if  he  held  that  sacred  book 


before  him  and  were  glancing  directly  into  its  pages. 
It  is  not  easy  to  believe  that  any  man  of  his  time  was 
able  to  quote  the  Bible  as  freely  as  he  did  and  with  as 
much  accuracy.  There  was  no  evidence  that  he  ever 
attempted  to  memorize  the  Bible  or  any  part  of  it;  but 
no  day  passed  without  extensive  reading  of  it  by  him, 
and  thus  the  sentences  clung  tenaciously  in  his  mind. 

Not  only  did  no  intellectual  process  seem  to  be  beyond 
the  reach  of  his  powers,  but  the  deepest  of  such  processes 
appeared  to  be  easy  and  simple  to  him.  Nevertheless  it 
was  ingrained  in  his  nature  to  avoid  what  he  might  con- 
sider, even  if  others  did  not,  as  an  appearance  of  putting 
the  mind  above  the  heart.  He  deliberately  turned  his 
back  upon  a  career  that  might  have  centered  upon  the- 
ology and  philosophy,  as  involving  retirement  from  the 
world  while  the  clamorous  call  within  his  soul  was  to  go 
out  among  men  and  share  to  the  fullest  in  their  whole- 
some aspirations.  All  this  is  far  from  saying  that  he 
underestimated  the  value  to  religion  of  research  in  the 
weightier  forms  of  its  scholarship,  for  he  kept  up  his 
studies  in  them  throughout  his  life.  But  in  regard  to 
these  things  he  was  receptive  only. 

A  proposal  or  an  idea  suggested  to  him  seemed  to  be 
instantly  separated  into  its  elements  in  his  mind,  as  if 
it  were  a  ray  of  light  broken  up  by  the  spectroscope.  It 
was  impossible  to  deceive  him  in  a  mental  sense,  though 
persons  who  appealed  to  him  for  help  in  need  could  easily 
impose  upon  him.  His  gaze  seemed  to  pierce  through 
the  exterior  of  any  one  who  was  talking  to  him  and  reveal 
every  hidden  thought. 

Alertness  was  one  of  the  chief  characteristics  of  his 


intellect.  It  was  always  poised  for  instant  action. 
Mentally  he  seemed,  even  when  physically  weary,  like  a 
knight  riding  into  the  joust  with  the  keen  point  of  his 
lance  perfectly  poised. 

The  question  may  be  asked — though  the  answer  would 
be  by  no  means  conclusive — did  Gibbons  produce  an  im- 
pression of  greatness  upon  others'?  History  attests  that 
external  appearances  are  often  deceptive  as  standards  of 
judgment  in  this  respect.  Nevertheless,  we  may  examine 
the  point  as  a  subordinate  if  not  a  major  consideration. 
First,  it  is  worth  while  to  say  that  the  outstanding  feel- 
ing of  those  who  came  in  fairly  close  contact  with  him 
was  a  sense  of  an  indefinable  superiority  on  his  part, 
unassociated  with  his  red  robe,  his  office  or  any  material 
circumstance.  This  impression  was  so  pronounced  that 
men  of  practical  affairs,  possessing  no  small  share  of 
mental  attainments — in  fact,  some  who  possessed  a  very 
large  share  of  such  attainments — were  often  confused 
in  his  presence,  in  spite  of  all  that  he  habitually  did  to 
put  them  at  their  ease. 

Only  by  serious  effort  could  some  of  them  muster 
enough  calmness  to  conduct  a  simple  conversation  with 
him,  and  they  left  with  their  heads  in  a  whirl,  recollect- 
ing little  of  what  had  taken  place.  After  this  mental 
agitation  passed,  the  remembrance  of  every  thing  impor- 
tant that  had  developed  in  the  course  of  the  interview 
would  usually  come  back  to  them,  and  they  would  find 
themselves  puzzled  to  discover  a  reason  for  having  been 
so  seriously  disconcerted  without  any  reason  that  was 
either  apparent  or  sufficient. 

The  effect  thus  produced  was  chiefly  noticeable  in  the 


cases  of  strangers  or  those  who  saw  him  seldom.  So  far 
as  the  sense  of  his  superiority  was  concerned,  friends  who 
were  accustomed  to  visit  him  frequently  had  precisely 
the  same  feeling;  but  instead  of  being  overshadowed 
with  confusion  in  his  presence  after  they  had  grown  to 
know  him  well,  they  usually  passed  to  the  other  extreme 
and  were  soothed  to  an  extraordinary  degree  by  his 
gentleness  and  benignity.  In  virtually  every  instance, 
except  as  to  persons  who  did  not  possess  normal  disposi- 
tions, or  who  were  swayed  by  some  particular  motive, 
both  friends  and  strangers  looked  upon  him  as  an  enigma, 
a  unique  blend  of  the  greater  qualities  which  men  may 

How  far  these  impressions  proceeded  from  Gibbons' 
force  of  character  and  mind,  and  how  far  from  the  more 
or  less  physical  force  called  "personal  magnetism,"  it 
would  be  impossible  to  judge  accurately.  This  magnet- 
ism, to  employ  the  term  as  a  convenient  form  of  expres- 
sion, was  evident  in  the  largest  crowd  and,  of  course, 
still  more  to  those  in  close  individual  contact  with  him. 
Its  power  was  apparently  exerted  without  effort  on  his 
part  and  it  appeared  to  be  fully  as  great  when  he  was  in 
repose  as  when  in  action.  Everywhere  he  went  it  stamped 
him  as  a  commanding  figure. 

When  he  entered  a  room  at  a  public  meeting,  no  mat- 
ter how  high  were  the  dignitaries  assembled,  all  eyes  were 
turned  to  him,  and  the  general  impression  of  his 
superiority  swept  like  a  wave  over  the  crowd.  If  some 
one  else  happened  to  be  speaking  or  otherwise  taking  a 
prominent  part  in  the  exercises,  attention  was  instantly 
diverted  to  Gibbons  and  remained  centered  upon  him 


until  he  left.  An  orator  might  harangue  ever  so  well, 
but  the  eyes  of  a  majority  of  the  crowd  were  riveted 
upon  the  Cardinal  with  a  gaze  as  of  fascination.  His 
address,  no  matter  how  simple  and  modest,  was  rated  as 
the  "hit"  of  the  occasion,  and  people  crowded  around 
him  at  the  close  of  the  proceedings  to  do  him  honor. 

No  Americans  of  recent  years  except  Blaine  and  Roose- 
velt had  shown  personal  influence  over  crowds  of  men 
approaching  that  of  Gibbons.  To  reach  further  back, 
one  would  find  no  approximation  closer  in  time  than 
Henry  Clay,  with  whom  Blaine  was  sometimes  compared. 
There  was  no  general  parallel  between  the  character  of 
Gibbons  and  that  of  Blaine,  who  happened  to  be  one  of 
the  men  high  in  political  life  in  America  whom  he  knew 
well.  Neither  was  there  a  general  parallel  between  his 
character  and  Clay's,  although  both  of  them  possessed  a 
singular  capacity  for  bringing  a  harmonious  result  out 
of  a  discordant  gathering. 

The  red  robe  of  the  Cardinal  may  have  heightened  the 
effect  described,  but  did  not  give  rise  to  it,  for  it  was 
equally  noticeable  upon  occasions  when  he  was  dressed 
in  simple  black.  Even  persons  who  differed  from  him 
in  view  in  some  things  would  be  swept  along  by  the  mass 
psychology  of  those  around  them  and  join  in  applauding 
him  on  public  occasions. 

There  was  nothing  in  the  physique  of  Gibbons  to  cause 
awe  in  others;  yet  the  feeling  of  awe  which  many  felt 
when  near  him  was  unmistakable.  His  features  and  form 
did  not  primarily  express  majesty  or  imply  domination; 
on  the  contrary,  winning  sweetness  was  his  most  promi- 
nent characteristic. 


He  had  a  wonderful  smile  which  lit  up  his  whole 
countenance  and  matched  the  expression  of  his  keen  blue 
eyes.  Never  did  the  outward  aspect  of  a  man  correspond 
more  closely  to  his  real  life,  work  and  purposes.  There 
was  dignity,  but  it  was  of  the  appealing  rather  than  of 
the  overpowering  kind.  He  seemed  to  be  a  living,  per- 
sonified plea  for  a  fair  hearing,  a  tolerant  spirit,  good 
feeling  and  earnest,  united  effort  in  helpful  directions. 

In  Europe  he  was  considered  to  be  a  true  type  of  the 
American  in  appearance.  His  face  and  form,  combined, 
denoted  alertness,  perception,  initiative,  activity,  vivacity 
and  even  vigor  and  determination,  in  spite  of  his  evident 
physical  frailty.  The  slightness  of  his  physique  was  less 
apparent  when  the  man  was  surveyed  at  a  casual  glance, 
for  the  face  gave  the  predominant  impression.  No  man's 
face  was  more  truly  the  index  of  his  soul  than  the  face 
of  Gibbons. 


Sitting  in  his  study  one  day  in  July,  1913,  Cardinal 
Gibbons  remarked  to  a  friend:  "On  next  Wednesday  I 
shall  be  seventy-nine  years  old."  Then  he  added  in  a 
subdued  voice:  "I  do  not  think  that  I  shall  live  much 
longer;  my  life  is  nearly  spent." 

The  friend  was  surprised  and  shocked  that  the  Cardi- 
nal's thoughts  should  take  such  a  turn,  but  he  smiled 
and  continued: 

"I  will  soon  be  an  octogenarian  and  nature  must  take 
its  course.  Almighty  God  has  blessed  me  with  a  long 
life,  and  I  am  ready  to  answer  whenever  He  sees  fit  to 
call  me  to  render  an  account  of  my  stewardship.  When 
the  call  comes,  I  think  it  will  be  a  sudden  one." 

The  friend  inquired  anxiously  as  to  the  condition  of 
his  health.    He  answered: 

"I  still  feel  young  and  capable  of  performing  several 
more  years  of  labor,  yet  I  think  that  I  will  soon  pass 
away.  You  know  it  is  the  soul  that  makes  us  young 
or  old.  If  our  souls  be  young,  though  our  bodies  be  as 
old  as  Methuselah's,  we  are  young  indeed." 

There  had  come  by  that  time  an  unmistakable  waning 

of  Gibbons'  strength,  and  there  were  signs  that  he  was 

as  well  aware  of  it  as  any  qne  else.     Nevertheless,  his 



spirit  rose  in  resolute  resistance  to  the  thought  either 
that  he  should  begin  a  life  of  partial  retirement,  as  some 
of  his  friends  advised,  or  even  that  he  should  discontinue 
some  of  his  more  exacting  duties.  He  seemed  determined 
to  postpone  to  the  utmost  limit  his  surrender  to  the  grow- 
ing restrictions  imposed  by  age.  The  thought  of  sparing 
himself  for  his  own  comfort  he  could  not  tolerate,  and 
he  seemed  impatient  at  times  when  it  was  voiced  by 
solicitous  persons  near  him. 

Even  when  he  had  begun  to  show  a  tendency  toward 
marked  physical  weakness  after  periods  of  prolonged 
exertion,  he  still  possessed  large  reserve  resources  of 
vitality.  Not  only  was  his  mental  vision  undimmed  in 
its  sweep  of  world  affairs  and  his  activity  unabated  in 
that  field,  but  he  persisted  in  continuing  to  perform  his 
duties  as  a  Bishop, — preaching,  consulting  with  his 
clergy,  making  arduous  episcopal  journeys  in  the  course 
of  which  he  confirmed  large  classes,  and  retaining  a  guid- 
ing hand  upon  all  the  important  affairs  of  the  diocese. 

In  the  course  of  the  next  two  years,  occasional  attacks 
of  rather  severe  weakness  and  of  the  minor  physical  ail- 
ments which  he  had  often  endured  were  not  followed  by 
the  rapid  recuperation  which  had  so  long  excited  the 
wonder  of  those  who  knew  him  well.  Sleeplessness 
troubled  him  at  times.  One  Saturday  night  early  in 
February,  1915,  he  was  so  restless  and  weak  that  he 
called  a  member  of  his  household  to  his  assistance  in  the 
early  morning.  He  took  no  breakfast  and  seemed  to  be 
in  a  state  verging  on  collapse.  The  day  was  the  first 
Sunday  of  the  month, — one  on  which  for  years  he  had 
been  accustomed  to  preach  in  the  Cathedral — and  he 


had  already  prepared  his  sermon.  The  priests  at  the 
archiepiscopal  residence  pleaded  with  him  not  to  go  to 
the  Cathedral,  but  to  remain  quietly  in  his  study.  Know- 
ing his  customary  reaction  to  such  appeals,  they  were  not 
surprised  when  he  replied  that  as  the  fact  that  he  was 
to  preach  had  been  announced  he  would  not  disappoint 
the  large  congregation  which  he  knew  would  be  assembled 
in  the  church. 

In  the  pulpit  it  was  apparent  that  his  throat  was 
troubling  him  seriously,  and  several  times  while  deliver- 
ing his  discourse  he  passed  his  hand  across  his  forehead 
in  a  gesture  indicating  faintness.  Nevertheless,  although 
it  was  obvious  that  the  effort  was  considerably  greater 
than  usual,  he  contrived  to  finish  his  sermon  and  his 
unimpaired  memory  enabled  him  to  adhere  to  the  lan- 
guage of  the  discourse  as  he  had  written  it  in  advance. 

That  night  he  retired  early  and  in  a  short  time  was 
able  to  visit  friends  in  the  country  for  a  few  days'  rest, 
which  appeared  to  restore  him  temporarily. 

The  difficulty  of  continuing  to  preach  monthly  In  the 
Cathedral,  in  addition  to  the  other  duties  which  he  in- 
sisted upon  performing,  increased.  In  December  of  the 
same  year,  when  he  was  eighty-one,  he  thought  seriously 
for  the  first  time  of  reducing  the  number  of  his  sermons 
in  the  course  of  the  next  year,  although  he  had  no  idea 
of  abandoning  them.  This  was  only  a  thought  at  first, 
and  he  did  not  yield  to  it  until  another  year  had  elapsed, 
when  he  let  it  be  known  that  he  would  discontinue  the 
delivery  of  sermons  at  stated  periods. 

He  passed  his  last  birthday  on  earth  ^  in  the  congenial 

*  Julj"-  23,  192a 


surroundings  of  the  rural  home  of  a  member  of  the 
Shriver  family  at  Union  Mills.  His  strength  seemed  to 
be  above  the  average  on  that  day,  and  his  mind  surged 
with  the  thoughts  which  lay  closest  to  him.  Conversing 
upon  some  of  these,  he  said : 

"Plato  was  accustomed  to  thank  the  gods  that  he  was 
born  in  a  country  so  advanced  in  culture  and  civilization 
as  Greece,  and  that  he  had  Socrates  for  a  teacher,  I 
thank  the  Lord  that  I  was  born  and  reared  in  a  country 
so  favored  as  the  United  States,  where  every  man  is  pro- 
tected in  the  enjoyment  of  life  and  property  with  the 
least  possible  restriction  of  personal  liberty. 

"Those  who  are  dissatisfied  with  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States;  those  stirring  up  discord  and  strife; 
those  anarchists  who  come  from  abroad  to  sow  seeds 
of  revolt,  not  only  display  a  deplorable  madness,  but 
are  guilty  of  base  ingratitude  in  stabbing  the  mother  who 
has  given  them  hospitality. 

"I  thank  Almighty  God  not  only  in  being  a  citizen 
of  the  United  States,  but  in  being  a  member  of  the  Chris- 
tian family.  From  the  dawn  of  reason  to  the  present 
hour  the  Lord  has  been  my  guiding  star  and  is  my  hope 
of  eternal  salvation,  without  which  life  would  not  be 
worth  living. 

"Not  only  is  Christ  the  life  of  the  soul,  but  the  prin- 
ciples He  has  left  us  are  the  sustaining  strength  of  the 
nation.  If  our  statesmen  and  citizens  are  guided  in 
political  and  civil  conduct  by  the  sublime  teaching  of 
the  Gospel,  the  vigor  and  enduring  stability  of  our  nation 
are  secured. 

"My  hope  in  the  perpetuity  of  our  Government  rests 
in  the  practical  sense  of  the  American  people,  who  in 
good  time  will  correct  the  extravagance  of  fanatical  in- 
novators and  bring  us  back  to  the  safe  paths  outlined  by 


the  fathers.     My  hope  rests,  too,  in  the  guidance  of  an 
overruling  Providence." 

In  September  he  presided  at  a  meeting  of  the  Hier- 
archy in  Washington,  at  which  a  plea  was  presented 
from  some  European  nationals  in  regard  to  the  composi- 
tion of  that  body,  which  Gibbons  considered  to  be  a  new 
threat  of  encroachment.  There  was  a  discussion  and  one 
of  the  prelates  who  was  present  requested  him  to  give 
his  opinion.  His  stooping  figure  became  erect  and  his 
failing  voice  rang  with  emotion  as  he  replied: 

"We  are  bound  in  unity  of  faith  and  obedience  to  the 
Vicar  of  Christ ;  but  our  Church  knows  nothing  of  Euro- 
pean politicians,  and  we  must  never  allow  them  to  lay 
hands  on  her  fair  structure." 

For  several  months  more  he  continued  the  exertions 
against  which  his  friends  had  so  often  warned  him. 

The  beginning  of  the  end  came  in  November  of  that 
year.  For  Sunday,  the  seventh  day  of  the  month,  he 
accepted  an  invitation  to  confirm  a  class  of  more  than 
one  hundred  and  preach  in  St.  Patrick's  Church,  Havre 
de  Grace,  Maryland,  despite  the  fact  that  each  visit  of 
that  character  involved  customarily  for  him  a  day  of  ex- 
ceptional strain.  On  Saturday  night  the  Cardinal  ap- 
peared to  be  very  weak  and  restless.  In  the  morning  he 
was  troubled  with  hoarseness  and  remarked  to  his  secre- 
tary:   "I  fear  that  I  shall  be  unable  to  preach."^ 

As  was  usual  when  he  visited  one  of  the  churches  in 

^An  intimate  account  of  Cardinal  Gibbons'  last  illness  is  given  by  his 
secretary  and  companion  during  that  period,  the  Rev.  Albert  E.  Smith, 
in  Smith  and  Fitzpatrick's  Cardinal  Gibbons,  Churchman  and  Citizen, 
from  which  many  facts  embraced  in  this  chapter  are  taken. 

C    .2 



Ph    [V] 

>'.  o 






PS         E^^ 


his  diocese,  his  participation  was  the  event  of  the  day 
in  the  town  and  an  overflowing  congregation  was  pres- 
ent. He  looked  over  the  expectant  crowd  after  entering 
the  church,  reconsidered  his  determination  and  said : 

"I  cannot  disappoint  these  good  people;  I  will  say  a 
few  words  at  the  close  of  the  Mass." 

He  persisted  in  carrying  out  his  decision,  but  faltered 
suddenly  while  speaking.  Several  persons  rushed  to  his 
side  and  prevented  him  from  falling.  After  a  short 
period  of  rest  in  a  chair,  he  seemed  to  recover  and  finished 
his  discourse.  He  confirmed  the  large  class  and  greeted 
the  congregation  at  a  reception  in  the  sacristy.  The 
same  afternoon  he  attended  a  reception  in  his  honor 
at  the  home  of  Commodore  and  Mrs.  Richards,  a  short 
distance  from  Havre  de  Grace.  There  was  no  indication 
that  his  collapse  in  the  pulpit  had  proceeded  from  more 
than  temporary  causes. 

During  that  month  he  continued  to  attend  to  his  work 
in  Baltimore  and  presided  at  the  annual  meeting  of 
the  Board  of  Indian  and  Negro  Missions,  in  whose  efforts 
he  had  taken  an  especially  deep  interest  for  many  years. 
On  the  evening  before  Thanksgiving  Day,  a  friend  who 
visited  him  in  his  study  found  him  crouched  in  a  chair, 
deathly  pale  and  in  a  state  evidently  approaching  col- 
lapse. Gibbons  admitted  that  he  was  almost  incapable 
of  exertion,  and  remarked  that  he  knew  he  was  unpre- 
pared to  attend  the  Pan  American  Mass  the  next  day 
in  St.  Patrick's  Church,  Washington,  at  which  he  was 
expected  to  be  present;  but,  he  exclaimed  with  spirit, 
"I  will  go." 

To  the  visitor  this  seemed  to  be  merely  a  rash  decision. 


The  general  celebration  of  Thanksgiving  had  become 
commonplace,  but  it  meant  far  more  to  Gibbons  than  to 
most  men.  He  could  not  forget  that  more  than  forty 
years  back,  when  many  of  the  religious  groups  in  Amer- 
ica were  apathetic  in  regard  to  the  observance  of  the 
day,  he  had  led  the  way  for  the  Catholic  Church  to  give 
her  full  and  continuous  adherence  to  the  growing  na- 
tional custom,  and  that  it  was  he  who  had  instituted  the 
Pan  American  Mass,  at  which  Presidents,  cabinet  mem- 
bers and  Latin-American  diplomats  were  wont  to  as- 
semble annually.  Not  only  did  he  carry  out  his  inten- 
tion of  joining  in  the  service  in  Washington  the  next  day, 
but  a  few  hours  after  the  Mass  he  blessed  the  new 
parochial  school  of  St.  Aloysius  Church. 

On  December  3  the  Cardinal's  eldest  sister,  Mary,  died 
in  New  Orleans,  at  the  age  of  ninety-four  years.  On 
account  of  the  condition  of  his  health  and  the  long  jour- 
ney that  would  have  been  involved,  it  was  impossible 
for  him  to  attend  the  funeral. 

Two  days  afterward,  although  it  was  evident  to  all 
those  in  his  entourage  that  he  ought  not  to  leave  Balti- 
more even  for  a  short  trip  when  his  health  was  in  such  a 
critical  state,  he  persisted  in  going  to  Emmitsburg,  Mary- 
land, intending  to  pontificate  at  a  Mass  at  St.  Joseph's 
College,  the  mother  house  of  the  Sisters  of  Charity,  in 
honor  of  the  beatification  of  Louise  de  Marillac  and 
the  four  martyrs  of  Arras.  For  some  time  he  had  suffered 
from  fainting  spells  and  difficulty  in  breathing.  Al- 
though unable  to  pontificate,  he  was  present  on  his  throne 
throughout  the  service. 

The  need  of  rest  being  imperative,  he  went  that  after- 


From  the  portrait  by  Marie  de  Ford  Kelkir,  presented  h;/  the  Car- 
dinal to  Miss  Mary  O.  Shriver,  December  16,  1920 


noon  to  the  home  of  Miss  Mary  O.  Shriver  at  Union 
Mills,  where  he  expected,  as  before,  to  recover  his 
strength.  But  his  weakness  increased  and  prostrated  him 
in  bed,  causing  grave  apprehensions.  His  malady  was 
the  old  age  disease,  arteriosclerosis,  the  hardening  and 
thickening  of  the  arteries,  but  he  remained  organically 

Four  days  after  his  arrival  at  the  Shriver  residence  he 
celebrated  his  last  Mass.  He  lacked  the  strength  to 
descend  the  altar  steps,  but,  leaning  against  the  altar, 
gave  communion  to  the  members  of  the  family  as  they 

On  the  evening  of  December  l6  he  presented  a  por- 
trait of  himself,  painted  by  Marie  de  Ford  Keller,  of 
Baltimore,  to  Miss  Shriver  at  a  little  ceremony,  be- 
ing carried  down  the  stairs  from  his  room  by  members 
of  the  family,  who  made  a  chair  with  their  hands.  To 
the  recipient  he  said : 

"I  don't  want  you  to  forget  me.  This  gift  is  only  a 
slight  mark  of  appreciation  of  your  goodness  to  me." 

The  exertion  was  evidently  too  much  for  him,  for  so 
critical  did  his  condition  become  in  the  course  of  the 
night  that  at  2  a.  m.  he  was  anointed  for  death  by  his 
secretary.  He  rallied,  but  his  sinking  spells  became 
increasingly  frequent. 

As  he  lay  in  bed.  Von  Hoist's  History  of  the  United 
States  was  read  to  him  at  intervals  of  the  day.  He  had 
recently  read  Beveridge's  Life  of  John  Marshall,  and 
new  biographies  of  Jefferson  and  Andrew  Jackson. 

On  Christmas  Day,  the  first  one  in  fifty-two  years  on 
which  he  had  not  pontificated,  he  could  not  leave  his  bed 


and  listened  to  the  celebration  of  a  low  Mass  in  the 
residence,  accompanied  by  the  singing  of  Christmas 
hymns.  By  that  time  he  appeared  to  be  convinced  that 
he  had  not  long  to  live.  After  one  of  his  periods  of  ex- 
treme weakness,  he  said:  "I  wish  that  our  good  Lord 
would  take  me  to  Himself." 

He  was  greatly  cheered  on  that  day  by  the  receipt  of 
the  following  message,  expressing  Pope  Benedict's  solici- 
tude for  him: 

"His  Holiness  begs  the  Lord  for  every  grace  and  com- 
fort for  your  Eminence,  who,  in  your  laborious  life,  has 
rendered  such  service  to  the  Church.  He  sends  to  you 
with  paternal  affection  his  special  Apostolic  Benediction." 

(Cardinal)  "Gasparri." 

At  the  midnight  Mass  at  the  Vatican,  the  Pope  offered 
special  prayers  for  Gibbons'  recovery. 

In  the  course  of  the  following  week,  he  was  visited  at 
the  Shriver  house  by  Archbishop  Bonzano,  the  Apostolic 
Delegate;  Bishop  Shahan,  Rector  of  the  Catholic  Uni- 
versity; Bishop  Russell,  of  Charleston,  and  a  number  of 
priests  and  laymen.  Bishop  Corrigan,  his  auxiliary, 
called  and  gave  him  reports  of  the  diocesan  work.  The 
renewed  evidence  of  affection  for  himself  shown  by  prel- 
ates and  priests  appeared  to  make  a  deep  impression 
upon  him.     He  said : 

"I  have  so  much  to  be  thankful  for.  See  how  different 
is  the  end  of  my  life  from  that  of  Cardinal  Manning.^ 
My  clergy  are  devoted ;  I  have  a  loyal  vicar  general  and 
a  diocese  in  which  there  are  no  factions." 

*The   allusion  was  to   the   comparative   isolation   in   which   Manning 
passed  his  last  days. 


On  New  Year's  Day  the  solicitude  of  President  Wilson 
for  the  Cardinal  was  conveyed  in  the  following  message 
from  the  President's  secretary  to  Bishop  Corrigan: 

"The  President  has  learned  with  sympathy  and  dis- 
tress of  the  Cardinal's  illness,  and  hopes  that  he  may 
very  soon  hear  of  a  decided  turn  for  the  better." 

Gibbons  replied  to  the  President  as  follows: 

"From  my  sick  bed  I  send  you  my  heartfelt  thanks  for 
your  solicitude  in  my  regard,  and  I  pray  God  may  bring 
you  every  blessing  in  this  New  Year." 

In  the  first  few  days  of  the  year  he  seemed  to  be  rally- 
ing, and  expressed  the  wish  to  be  removed  to  the  archi- 
episcopal  house  in  Baltimore,  in  which  he  had  lived  for 
forty-three  years.  He  said:  "I  want  to  die  in  my  own 
home.  When  I  reach  Baltimore,  I  can  then  say  nunc 
dimittis!''  To  his  physicians  he  said  that  he  had  a  feel- 
ing that  he  would  be  able  to  undergo  the  journey  with 
safety,  and  they  consented  to  it.  He  would  not  permit 
his  removal  in  an  ambulance,  and  was  conveyed  to  Balti- 
more in  an  automobile  in  which  he  was  made  as  com- 
fortable as  possible  by  means  of  pillows. 

There  seemed  to  be  a  transformation  in  him  as  he  re- 
entered the  house,  to  which  so  many  of  his  tenderest 
memories  clung.  As  he  was  borne  through  the  front  door 
on  a  stretcher,  he  inquired  for  the  lad  who  attended  the 
door,  saying:  "Where  is  my  little  red-headed  boy*?" 
The  familiar  faces  and  scenes  brightened  his  spirits.  For 
several  days  his  condition  showed  a  steady  improvement, 
and  once  he  remarked  to  his  physician.  Dr.  Charles 
O' Donovan :    "I  am  beginning  to  feel  my  old  self  again." 


Cardinals  O'Connell,  Mercier  and  many  others  sent 
messages  to  him.  Secretary  of  State  Colby  and  the  mis- 
sion from  the  United  States  Government  which  was  then 
about  to  return  home  after  a  series  of  official  visits  to 
governments  in  South  America  cabled  from  Montevideo, 
expressing  the  anxiety  of  the  members  of  the  party  over 
reports  of  his  condition  published  there. 

As  the  seeming  improvement  continued,  he  was  per- 
mitted to  leave  his  bed  and  sit  in  a  wheel-chair  for  con- 
siderable periods  of  each  day.  Later  he  walked  about 
his  study  for  a  few  minutes  at  a  time,  supported  by  others. 
Permission  was  also  given  by  his  physician  for  motor- 
car trips,  on  bright  days,  about  the  city.  For  a  time  he 
was  not  permitted  to  receive  visitors;  but  as  this  isolation 
had  a  bad  effect,  the  rule  was  changed  and  a  few  visitors 
were  allowed  to  see  him  every  day,  their  presence  appear- 
ing to  improve  his  spirits  in  a  marked  degree. 

As  it  was  impossible  to  prevent  his  mind  from  taking 
up  affairs  of  the  diocese  and  other  questions  which  had 
concerned  him  for  so  long  a  period,  the  restrictions  in 
regard  to  his  attention  to  these  were  also  relaxed.  In 
January  he  gave  warm  public  support  to  a  movement  to 
raise  a  fund  for  rebuilding  St.  Mary's  Industrial  School, 
where  hundreds  of  boys  had  felt  the  inspiration  of  his 
personal  interest  in  them.  The  destruction  of  the  school 
by  fire  had  been  a  heavy  blow  to  him.  He  issued  an 
appeal  to  the  Knights  of  Columbus  to  assist  in  the  re- 
building, and  enlisted  their  active  cooperation.  In  this 
appeal  he  said  of  the  school : 

"I  have  been  President  of  its  board  of  trustees  for 
more  than  forty  years,    I  have  seen  it  grow  year  by  year. 


its  work  extend,  its  influence  expand.  I  have  witnessed 
this  work  of  half  a  century  almost  wiped  out  by  fire  in 
a  single  day. 

"I  would  not  appeal  to  you  if  St.  Mary's  were  merely 
a  local  institution.  Our  enrollment,  during  the  school's 
existence,  of  nearly  thirteen  thousand  youths  from  eight 
to  twenty-one  years  old  has  come  from  forty-five  States. 
The  nine  hundred  under  the  care  of  the  Brothers  on  the 
day  of  the  fire  represented  thirty-three  States  and  nine- 
teen religious  denominations. 

"The  seven  hundred  and  eighty-five  of  our  youth  who 
enlisted  directly  from  the  school  in  war  days,  and  the 
thirty-two  hundred  'old'  boys  who  found  their  way  into 
the  service,  speak  volumes  for  the  spirit  of  true  patrio- 
tism fostered  and  the  physical  fitness  nurtured  at  the 

"I  may  not  live  to  see  this  temple  rebuilt,  but,  like 
David  of  old,  I  shall  be  happy  to  see  the  materials  as- 
sembled. I  would  see  perpetuated  at  this  school  for  the 
neglected  boy,  semi-national  as  it  is,  a  monument  to  the 
charity  of  the  Knights,  a  hall  graced  with  the  'K.  of  C ; 
an  ever-present  lesson  of  mutual  service  and  brotherly 
aid  to  be  learned  by  the  thousands  of  boys  the  new  St. 
Mary's  will  educate  and  train  in  the  way  of  sturdy  man- 
hood and  right  citizenship." 

When  the  savings  movement  fostered  by  the  United 
States  Treasury  during  the  war  was  renewed,  he  again 
gave  effective  help  to  it.  In  February  he  sent  a  letter 
to  the  heads  of  all  Catholic  schools  in  the  archdiocese  of 
Baltimore  approving  the  movement  and  urging  their  co- 
operation, saying: 

"The  action  of  the  United  States  Government  in  con- 
tinuing the  campaign  to  develop  habits  of  thrift  on  the 
part  of  the  children  of  this  nation  is  to  be  commended. 


I  believe  that  every  person  in  a  position  to  be  of  assist- 
ance in  developing  interest  in  this  subject  and  in  educat- 
ing the  people  in  habits  of  economy  and  thrift  should 
give  support  to  this  movement.  No  greater  service  can 
be  rendered  the  children  of  the  country  than  to  teach 
them  the  value  of  money." 

In  forwarding  this  endorsement  to  the  Savings  Di- 
vision of  the  Treasury,  he  wrote  in  his  own  hand  on  the 
back  of  it : 

"I  fully  approve  your  desire  to  confer  with  the  heads 
of  the  Catholic  Schools  in  this  archdiocese  and  commend 
your  mission  to  them." 

For  Washington's  birthday  he  contributed  an  article 
to  the  issue  of  the  Baltimore  Catholic  Review  published 
a  few  days  in  advance  of  that  anniversary.  This,  his 
last  utterance  of  a  general  nature,  was  permeated 
throughout  by  thoughts  which  had  moved  him  powerfully 
for  many  years  and  were  struggling  for  final  expression 
as  his  life  drew  near  the  end.  It  was,  in  effect,  a  farewell 
message  to  the  American  people,  in  which  light  it  was 
considered  throughout  the  country,  where  it  was  printed 
and  circulated  widely  by  newspapers. 

The  subject  of  this  valedictory  was  "The  Constitu- 
tion and  George  Washington."     It  began: 

"As  the  years  go  by  I  am  more  than  ever  convinced 
that  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States  is  the  greatest 
instrument  of  government  that  ever  issued  from  the  hand 
of  man.  Drawn  up  in  the  infancy  of  our  Republic,  and 
amid  the  fears  and  suspicions  and  opposition  of  many 
patriotic  men,  it  has  weathered  the  storm  periods  of 
American  public  life  and  has  proved  elastic  enough  to 


withstand  every  strain  put  upon  it  by  party  spirit,  West- 
ern development,  world-wide  immigration,  wars  little 
and  great,  far-reaching  social  and  economic  changes,  in- 
ventions and  discoveries,  the  growth  of  individual  wealth 
and  the  vagaries  of  endless  reformers. 

"That  within  the  short  space  of  one  hundred  years  we 
have  grown  to  be  a  great  nation,  so  much  so  that  to-day 
the  United  States  is  rightly  regarded  as  the  first  among 
the  nations  of  the  earth,  is  due  to  the  Constitution,  the 
palladium  of  our  liberties  and  the  landmark  in  our  march 
of  progress. 

"When  George  Washington  secured  its  final  adoption, 
largely  out  of  respect  for  his  judgment  and  as  a  tribute 
of  confidence  in  him,  he  made  all  mankind  his  debtor 
forever,  for  the  Constitution  has  proved  the  bulwark  of 
every  right  and  every  fair  promise  that  the  American 
Revolution  stood  for.  With  the  Constitution  came  the 
solidarity  and  the  union  which  has  marked  our  progress 
up  to  now;  without  it  we  would  have  remained  thirteen 
independent  colonies,  with  the  passions  and  prejudices 
peculiar  to  each.  For  all  time  to  come  may  it  remain 
the  instrument  safeguarding  our  national  life  and  insur- 
ing us  the  liberties  and  freedom  which  it  guarantees." 

The  Cardinal  next  turned  to  consideration  of  the 
guarantee  of  religious  liberty  in  the  Constitution,  which 
had  been  his  bulwark  in  his  lifelong  struggle  against 
intolerance.     He  wrote : 

"For  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  mankind  religious 
liberty  was  here  secured  to  all  men  as  a  right  under  Fed- 
eral protection.  That  was  indeed  a  big  thing,  a  mighty 
thing  for  man  to  do,  to  write  into  the  fundamentals 
of  a  Government  enactments  that  would  stem  the  tide  of 
popular  and  traditional  prejudices.  But  that  the  Con- 
stitution of  the  United  States  did,  so  that  not  only  was 


religious  intolerance  branded  as  something  un-American, 
but  future  American  citizens  came  to  our  shores  full 
hearted  and  well  disposed,  and  the  whole  world  was  made 
a  debtor  to  the  wise  founders  of  this  charter  of  human 
rights  and  human  interests. 

"Had  this  wise  provision  been  left  out  of  the  Constitu- 
tion, who  could  have  foreseen  the  evils  confronting  us! 

"No  one  knows  better  than  myself  what  a  line  of 
demarcation  and  separation  religion  can  cut  in  this  coun- 
try from  ocean  to  ocean,  and  no  one  has  been  more  eager 
and  earnest  in  his  effort  to  keep  down  and  repress 
religious  distinction. 

"I  fear  no  enemy  from  without.  The  enemy  I  fear  is 
he  who,  forgetting  human  nature  and  the  history  of 
Europe,  would  raise  the  question  of  another's  religious 
belief  and  introduce  strife  and  discord  into  the  life  of 
our  country.  So  deep  and  strong  are  religious  feelings 
that  any  fostering  of  religious  differences  can  have  but 
one  effect:  to  destroy  what  a  hundred  years  of  trial  and 
test  has  proved  to  be  the  greatest  blessing  enjoyed  by 
man  here  below. 

"Fortunately  our  common  law  protects  every  American 
in  his  religious  belief,  as  it  protects  him  in  his  civil  rights, 
so  that  whatever  offenses  may  be  occasionally  committed 
here  in  this  respect  are  local  and  temporary,  and  are  uni- 
versally regarded  as  un-American  and  are  for  this  reason 
shortlived.  The  great  wrongs  which  men  have  suffered 
elsewhere  in  this  respect  of  religion  are  here  unthinkable. 

"Moreover,  because  the  question  of  religion  had  ever 
been  the  burning  question  with  the  masses  who  looked 
eagerly  toward  America,  and  were  in  time  destined  to 
come  to  our  shores,  the  Constitution  held  out  to  them 
the  hope  that  here  on  this  blessed  soil  opportunity  would 
be  given  them  of  worshipping  God  after  the  dictates  of 
their  own  consciences.  While  the  founders  of  the  Ameri- 
can Republic  could  not  have  foreseen  the  coming  flood 


of  European  immigration,  they  exhibited,  nevertheless, 
in  respect  of  religion  the  greatest  prudence,  and  closed 
with  practical  sagacity  the  only  source  of  mutual  discord 
and  injustice  that  the  Republic  had  then  to  fear." 

He  took  up  the  question  of  foreign  malcontents,  re- 
garding whom  he  had  expressed  particularly  vigorous 
views  when  they  had  threatened  to  create  serious  discord 
in  the  United  States  soon  after  the  World  War.  The 
article  proceeded: 

"I  was  quoted  in  the  newspapers  a  few  weeks  ago  as 
saying  of  certain  foreign  elements  in  this  country  that 
if  they  did  not  like  our  laws,  let  them  return  to  their 
own  country;  and  if  they  did  not  return  they  should  be 
made  to  do  so.  Directed,  as  these  words  are,  against 
those  who  would  abuse  the  liberty  of  worship  and  other 
liberties  here  offered  and  would  strive  to  overthrow  the 
very  instrument  of  their  freedom,  I  offer  no  apology 
for  them.  In  this  all-important  matter  of  religious  lib- 
erty time  has  proved  the  wisdom  of  our  founders,  and 
we  would  be  recreant  to  the  trust  committed  to  us  if  we 
failed  to  teach  and  uphold  the  principles  upon  which  our 
Government  rests." 

Gibbons  called  attention  in  the  article  to  the  trials 
through  which  America  had  passed,  and  expressed  the 
view  that  "a  nation  which  could  survive  the  strain  thus 
put  upon  it  must  be  possessed  of  extraordinary  vitality 
and  resource."  He  recalled  his  own  experiences  in  the 
Civil  War  "in  which  I  was  a  chaplain  at  Fort  McHenry" 
and  the  intensity  of  the  feelings  which  were  aroused  on 
both  sides  in  that  strife.  The  conflict  in  1876  over  the 
Presidential  succession  as  between  Tilden  and  Hayes  he 


also  mentioned  as  one  of  the  great  episodes  which  had 
demonstrated  the  capacity  for  unity  and  constitutional 
cooperation  among  the  American  people,  saying  that  it 
"filled  me  with  more  fear  for  the  safety  of  the  Republic 
than  did  the  four  years  of  Civil  War." 

It  was  the  Constitution,  he  held,  which  had  safe- 
guarded the  economic  life  of  the  country,  in  which  un- 
exampled development  had  been  obtained,  bringing 
"riches  and  comforts  that  beggar  description  and  per- 
haps surpass  all  that  mankind  has  hitherto  drawn  from 
earth  and  sea."  He  especially  eulogized  the  Supreme 
Court  as  the  "coordinating  medium  in  our  national  life," 
which  had  been  indispensable  to  the  stability  of  the 

Upon  Washington  the  words  of  the  almost  dying  man 
dwelt  with  something  akin  to  tenderness.  He  declared 
that  the  first  President  during  his  two  terms  "gave  force 
and  direction  to  the  written  principles  of  the  Constitu- 
tion, and  proved  even  in  the  early  days  of  its  existence 
how  practical  a  document  it  was  in  its  bearings  upon 
affairs  and  men."  His  conclusion  was  largely  a  summing 
up  of  the  political  creed  of  his  life.     It  read : 

"It  is  my  earnest  hope  that  all  my  fellow  citizens  will 
find  in  the  liberty  and  freedom  guaranteed  by  the  Con- 
stitution peace  and  security,  and  in  the  character  of 
George  Washington  virtues  and  qualities  worthy  of  the 
highest  imitation." 

The  finale  of  those  homilies  on  general  conditions  of 
life  which  he  had  been  accustomed  to  deliver  in  public 
addresses  and  through  the  medium  of  magazine  and 
newspaper  interviews  appeared  in  the  American  Maga- 


zine  for  March,  the  month  in  which  he  died.  It  was 
written  by  Bruce  Barton,  who  had  obtained  the  material 
from  Gibbons  in  his  study  in  Baltimore  before  he  had 
been  stricken  with  the  most  serious  phase  of  his  last  ill- 
ness. It  was  called  an  Easter  message,  but  before  Easter 
dawned  the  earthly  voice  of  Gibbons  was  silent. 

The  title  of  this  article — an  extraordinary  one  in  view 
of  the  circumstances — was  "Young  Man,  Expect  Great 
Things."  It  was  a  phrase  which  Gibbons  had  used  in 
the  course  of  his  conversation  with  Mr.  Barton.  The 
subject  of  old  age  and  youth  had  been  introduced,  and 
the  Cardinal  said: 

"When  a  man  begins  to  look  back,  then  he  is  old.  I 
never  look  back.  Lot's  wife  looked  back,  you  remember, 
and  was  destroyed.  Looking  back  is  destruction  always 
— the  beginning  of  the  end.  After  a  person  passes  middle 
life  he  ought  to  surround  himself  with  those  who  have  a 
long  time  yet  to  look  forward. 

"Until  you  are  forty,  seek  the  companionship  of  men 
who  are  older.  After  that,  keep  a  vital  contact  with 
those  who  are  younger.  That  is  a  pretty  good  rule.  Until 
my  recent  sickness  I  used  to  walk  every  afternoon  from 
five  to  six,  and  whom  did  I  choose  for  companions'?  Stu- 
dents from  the  Seminary.  They  come  from  every  part 
of  the  United  States :  one  day  a  man  from  Massachusetts, 
another  day  one  from  Oklahoma,  and  so  on.  They  tell^ 
me  their  hopes  and  their  ambitions  and  their  plans. 

"And  do  you  want  to  know  what  I  say  to  them"?  I  say, 
'Young  man,  expect  great  things!  Expect  great  things 
of  God;  great  things  of  your  fellow  men  and  of  yourself. 
Expect  great  things  of  America.  For  great  opportunities 
are  ahead;  greater  than  any  that  have  come  before.  But 
only  those  who  have  the  courage  and  the  vision  to  expect 
them  will  profit  when  they  come.' 


"Say  to  your  young  men  for  me:  'Be  tolerant.  For- 
get the  prejudices  that  separate  you  from  other  men,  and 
remember  the  great  common  ties  that  bind  us  all  together 
as  children  of  God,  traveling  the  road  of  life  together. 
And  your  reward  will  be  in  proportion  to  your  service.' 

"Again  and  again,  I  have  seen  men  start  out  in  life 
selfishly  to  get  all  they  could  get  for  themselves,  and  in 
the  end  they  are  baffled  and  puzzled.  They  can't  under- 
stand why,  with  all  their  striving,  they  have  been  sur- 
passed by  men  who  apparently  neglected  their  own  selfish 
interests  to  render  real  service,  and  to  be  kind  to  other 
men  as  they  went  along.  They  do  not  understand  that 
those  unselfish  servants  of  the  race  have  the  good  will 
of  thousands  of  people  working  for  them ;  and  that  God, 
whose  eye  can  mark  even  the  fall  of  a  single  sparrow, 
never  lets  an  act  of  real  devotion  and  service  go  without 
its  reward. 

"That  sounds  like  religion  rather  than  business;  but 
there  is  no  business  success,  in  the  truest  sense,  that  is 
not  a  religious  success.  Men  are  spirits,  not  merely  bodies 
and  appetites  and  needs;  and  the  business  that  is  built 
on  the  great  spiritual  laws  of  service  and  tolerance  and 
kindliness  builds  on  foundations  that  are  eternal." 

On  March  9  he  issued  an  appeal  in  behalf  of  the  Ameri- 
can Committee  for  Relief  in  Ireland,  which  was  collect- 
ing a  fund  for  aiding  destitute  women  and  children  in 
that  country. 

There  was  usually  an  objective  for  each  of  the  motor- 
car trips  which  Gibbons  was  permitted  by  his  physician 
to  take  during  those  last  days  when  the  shadow  of  his 
impending  dissolution  hung  over  his  grief-stricken  house- 
hold. Most  of  these  objectives  were  Catholic  institu- 
tions of  benevolence  in  Baltimore,  whose  work  lay  close 
to  his  heart  and  had  been  unceasingly  encouraged  by  him 


during  nearly  half  a  century.  He  visited  an  orphan 
asylum,  several  hospitals,  the  home  of  the  Little  Sisters 
of  the  Poor,  a  convent  and  St.  Charles'  College.  At  St. 
Agnes'  Hospital  he  bestowed  words  of  comfort  upon  a 
Sister  of  Charity  who  had  been  confined  to  a  wheel-chair 
for  more  than  twenty  years,  paralyzed  from  the  waist 

On  several  occasions  he  was  carried  in  his  wheel-chair 
into  the  Cathedral.  His  thoughts  turned  to  his  possible 
appearance  there  on  Easter  Sunday,  and  on  one  of  his 
visits  he  counted  the  number  of  steps  leading  to  the 
archiepiscopal  throne,  saying  that  he  might  be  able  to 
mount  them,  and  from  that  position  give  his  blessing 
to  the  people.  Doubting  his  ability  to  stand  during  such 
a  ceremony,  he  spoke  on  another  occasion  of  remaining 
seated  in  his  chair  and  bestowing  the  blessing  from  the 
altar  railing.  He  also  looked  forward  to  a  meeting  of 
the  trustees  of  the  Catholic  University,  which  was  soon 
to  take  place,  and  in  which  he  ardently  desired  to  partici- 
pate in  some  way. 

The  rebound  of  his  vitality  after  his  return  to  his  own 
home  was  short-lived.  Gradually  his  infirmities  became 
more  painful  and  baffling,  causing  periods  of  great  de- 
pression.    In  one  of  these  periods  he  remarked: 

"Only  God  knows  what  I  suffer.  Most  gladly  would 
I  change  my  position  with  that  of  the  simplest  child  of 
the  city." 

At  times  he  expressed  a  wish  for  death.  To  one  of  his 
visitors  he  said : 

"They  are  thinking  of  installing  an  elevator  in  the 
house  so  that  I  may  be  enabled  to  go  downstairs.     The 


only  elevator  for  which  I  am  looking  is  Jacob's  ladder, 
whereby  I  may  go  to  my  true  home." 

While  consciousness  remained,  he  continued  to  be 
solicitous  for  all  the  members  of  his  household,  from 
the  rector  of  the  Cathedral  to  the  "little  red-headed  boy" 
who  attended  his  door.  On  the  last  Sunday  of  his  life, 
the  Sunday  before  Easter,  he  directed  that  the  lad  should 
be  freed  from  his  duties  during  the  holiday  and  that 
money  should  be  given  him  in  order  that  he  might  go 
to  Wilmington  to  visit  a  relative. 

The  final  collapse  began  on  that  day.  A  sudden  change 
in  the  Cardinal's  condition  about  seven  o'clock  in  the 
evening  caused  Sister  Ludovic,  of  the  Bon  Secours,  his 
chief  nurse,  to  give  the  alarm.  The  priests  of  the  archi- 
episcopal  household  were  summoned,  and  they  heard  him 
murmur : 

"I  want  to  go  home.  Come,  it  is  time  for  us  to  go. 
When  shall  we  start'?" 

These  words  were  spoken  while  he  was  apparently  in 
the  possession  of  full  consciousness,  for  he  recognized 
each  of  those  who  were  gathered  about  his  bedside.  Al- 
though a  rally  followed,  it  was  then  evident  that  death 
was  near. 

On  the  following  day,  he  himself  felt  that  he  had  but  a 
short  time  to  live.  Archbishop  Bonzano,  the  Apostolic 
Delegate,  visited  him.  The  Delegate's  own  account  of 
the  meeting  was: 

"I  went  to  see  the  Cardinal  for  the  last  time  on  Mon- 
day, March  21.  The  Cardinal  had  expressed  a  desire  to 
see  me,  and  though  not  feeling  well,  I  felt  I  ought  to  go 
to  see  him. 


"When  I  was  introduced  into  his  room  he  smiled  and 
tried  to  embrace  me. 

"  'I  am  very  glad  you  have  come,'  he  said  to  me,  'but 
this  is  your  last  visit.  I  am  a  very  sick  man  and  the  end 
is  near.' 

"  'We  are  hoping  and  praying,  Your  Eminence,'  I  re- 
plied, 'that  God  will  prolong  your  life.  The  Holy 
Father  likewise  is  praying  for  you.' 

"  'How  good  of  him  to  remember,'  said  the  Cardinal. 
'But  it  is  better  for  me  to  go  than  him,  as  his  death 
would  be  a  calamity  to  the  Church  in  these  troublesome 

"Here  the  conversation  was  stopped  by  a  heart  attack 
suffered  by  his  Eminence.  I  then  gave  the  Cardinal  the 
Papal  Blessing,  which  he  received  with  fervor  and  in  a 
most  touching  maimer,  trying  to  make  the  sign  of  the 

"The  Cardinal  then  blessed  me.  After  that  I  caught 
a  few  indistinct  words,  among  which  was  the  name  of 
the  Holy  Father.  Fearing  I  might  annoy  him,  I  said 
good-bye.     He  thanked  me. 

"I  left  the  room  happy  and  sorry — happy  to  have  seen 
the  great  Cardinal;  sorry  to  see  the  end  of  a  great  life. 
The  great  Cardinal  kept  his  attachment  to  the  Holy 
Father  and  to  his  representative  to  the  very  last."  * 

On  Monday  and  Tuesday  his  vitality  bore  him  up  in 
its  expiring  efforts.  Speaking  to  the  priests  of  his  house- 
hold on  Tuesday  evening,  he  said : 

"You  do  not  know  how  I  suffer.  The  imagination  is 
a  powerful  thing.  My  reason  tells  me  that  the  images 
which  rise  before  me  have  no  foundation  in  fact.  Faith 
must  ever  be  the  consolation  of  all  men.  Without  faith 
we  can  accomplish  little.    Faith  bears  us  up  in  our  trials." 

*  Baltimore  Catholic  Re'vieiv, 


At  the  request  of  one  of  the  priests  he  gave  his  blessing 
to  the  group,  the  last  which  he  was  to  bestow  on  earth. 
Then  he  said:  "What  a  loyal,  devoted  band  of  priests!" 

That  night  he  became  unconscious  and  remained  so 
until  the  end,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  minutes  on 
Wednesday  morning  when  he  rallied  and  spoke  these, 
his  last  words,  in  a  whisper : 

"I  have  had  a  good  day." 

On  Holy  Thursday  morning,  March  24,  1921,  while 
the  near-by  Cathedral  was  filled  with  worshipers,  evident 
signs  appeared  that  the  Cardinal's  death  was  at  last  about 
to  come  and  the  priests  and  sisters  who  had  cared  for  him 
gathered  lovingly  around  the  bedside.  The  Rev,  Louis 
R.  Stickney,  rector  of  the  Cathedral,  said  the  prayers  for 
the  dying.  It  was  1 1 133  o'clock  when  the  heart  gave  its 
last  feeble  flutter  and  that  wonderful  pilgrimage  on  earth 
which  had  so  profoundly  affected  the  lives  of  countless 
thousands  was  finished. 


Baltimore,  where  the  brilliant  personality  of  Gibbons 
had  been  the  dominant  individual  influence  for  so  many 
years,  was  plunged  into  profound  sorrow  by  his  death  as 
it  had  been  by  the  death  of  no  man  in  all  the  history 
of  the  city.  As  soon  as  word  was  conveyed  to  the  Mayor, 
Mr.  Broening,  he  ordered  the  bell  of  the  City  Hall  to  be 
tolled  eighty-six  times,  once  for  each  year  of  the  Cardi- 
nal's life.^  The  Mayor  called  a  special  session  of  the 
City  Council,  which  adopted  resolutions  of  eulogy.  Pro- 
ceedings in  all  of  the  courts  in  the  city  were  suspended 
as  the  bell  began  its  sad  message.  In  the  Circuit  Court, 
Isaac  Lobe  Straus,  former  Attorney  General  of  Mary- 
land, a  member  of  the  Jewish  faith,  moved  an  adjourn- 
ment for  the  day,  saying: 

*T  have  the  very  sad  office  of  announcing  to  the  Court 
that  I  have  learned,  as,  doubtless  your  Honor  has  learned, 
of  the  decease  of  a  great  figure  who,  for  half  a  century, 
has  brought  surpassing  illustriousness  to  Maryland,  and 
to  the  world,  James  Cardinal  Gibbons.  He  has  passed 
away.  The  world,  this  State,  have  suffered  an  irrepa- 
rable loss.  Our  people  and  people  everywhere  will  mourn 
him;  but  his  influence  will  live,  his  memory  will  live  for- 
ever as  one  of  the  moral,  spiritual  and  civic  treasures 
of  this  State  and  of  all  the  world." 

*  Cardinal  Gibbons  died  at  the  age  of  eighty-six  years,  eight  months 
and  one  day. 



The  legislatures  of  Maryland  and  New  York  ad- 
journed as  a  mark  of  respect. 

Far  beyond  his  beloved  Baltimore  and  Maryland,  the 
death  of  Gibbons  was  marked  by  a  voicing  of  the  nation's 
sorrow  such  as  had  been  invoked  by  the  passing  of  only  a 
few  of  the  chosen  figures  in  her  history.  President 
Harding  sent  the  following  message  to  Bishop  Corrigan : 

"In  common  with  all  our  people,  I  mourn  the  death 
of  Cardinal  Gibbons.  His  long  and  notable  service  to 
the  country  and  to  church  makes  us  all  his  debtors.  He 
was  ever  ready  to  lend  his  encouragement  to  any  move- 
ment for  the  betterment  of  his  fellow  men.  He  was  the 
very  finest  type  of  citizen  and  churchman. 

"It  was  my  good  fortune  to  know  him  personally  and 
I  held  him  in  the  highest  esteem  and  veneration.  His 
death  is  a  distinct  loss  to  the  country,  but  it  brings  to 
fuller  appreciation  a  great  and  admirable  life."  ^ 

Ex-President  Taf  t  said :  ^ 

"He  did  not  belong  to  the  Catholic  Church  alone,  but 
he  belonged  to  the  country  at  large.  He  was  Catholic 
not  only  in  the  religious